Charmingly Modern

Another baby on the way

second pregnant announcement

I can finally announce it – it’s a second pregnancy for the Rosens!

I know I go through periods where this blog is kind of quiet, and the most recent period of quiet was due to me being in the middle of my first trimester and trying to stay healthy while caring for a toddler. Harder than I thought it would be, that’s for sure.

But now I’m 13 weeks (well, I will be on Friday actually) and am feeling better overall, though still sick at night. Around 14 weeks was when things let up with Ezra so I’m looking forward to getting to that point, and just to the second trimester in general.

We had the lovely Anna Kennedy take some family/announcement photos and she did a great job, as usual. Those were some of my favorites, but this one is my absolute favorite –

Such a sweet little moment she captured!

We found out we were pregnant back at the end of August. This wasn’t an unplanned pregnancy, but I still had this feeling that I couldn’t push down – kind of like a sadness. Weird, I know. I wasn’t sad about having a second baby; I was sad to close this chapter of our lives where we are a family of three. Mostly I was sad to lose this one-on-one time with my little buddy, which is unbelievably special.

But as time has gone on, and as I’ve talked Alex’s (and friends and family) ear off about all of this, I realized it isn’t really an end. It’s more like a next step. This new baby is going to grow our family in ways we couldn’t have imagined and my feeling of sadness is now being tempered with anticipation and excitement. And that picture will always be so special to me, as a permanent reminder of this time in our lives, as a family of three.

bump pic with pumpkin

Baby number two is due around May 15th, which is one month after Ezra’s original due date. If this baby is anything like Ezra, he/she will come early. There are a lot of birthdays and anniversaries and special days in May for both sides of our family, so it’s possible this baby will end up sharing a birthday with someone else in the family!

This second pregnancy is happening at roughly the same time as the first one. I’m really lucky to be able to reuse my maternity clothes. And, if this baby is a boy, I’ll be able to reuse Ezra’s clothes. We won’t find out the sex until December, though, so we still have some time on that.

I plan on doing like I did with Ezra and posting weekly updates with a bump photo. I started that around 16 or 17 weeks with him, but this time around I will start next week at 14 weeks. “They” say you show sooner with a second pregnancy and I feel like that’s true with me – not that I necessarily look pregnant, but I do think it’s obvious something is going on in the belly region! The photos from this session were taken at 10 weeks, by the way, so I really didn’t look very much like anything at all. Now, 3 weeks later, there is a noticeable difference –

12 weeks with baby 2

From now until May, I have a few projects I want to work on –

  • Hopefully getting Ezra potty trained and transitioned from his crib to a bed
  • Moving him to the empty bedroom so his room can stay the nursery
  • Putting together a fun “big boy” room for Ezra, and tweaking the nursery a bit to personalize it more for this new little one
  • Some house projects that I’ll talk about in a separate post, but they mostly involve painting, hanging ceiling fans and getting window treatments
  • Get some newborn clothes since I gave all of Ezra’s away
  • Get a new swing since I sold our old one
  • Get a new video monitor since ours is on its last leg and we need two cameras now anyway

I think that mostly covers it! We will cloth diaper this one like we have with Ezra, but probably not until he/she is 3-4 months so I’ll need to stockpile newborn and size 1 diapers (maybe size 2? I can’t remember what the different sizes mean anymore…). I plan to breastfeed again and hopefully that will go well the second time around.

I also hope to be able to have a water birth. I keep thinking about how I stood in the shower when I was still in early labor with Ezra and how the water made the contractions bearable. The hospital I will deliver at does have birthing tubs so when things get a little closer I’ll start looking into that more. I also plan on hiring a doula again; probably the backup doula who attended Ezra’s birth since the main one we had hired was out of town…but that’s assuming she is still a doula!

It’s strange being pregnant again. On the one hand, it’s all old hat. Morning sickness? Yeah it’s terrible, but I knew it was coming at 5 weeks so I majorly cleaned the house in preparation for when it hit (and boy did it hit). Maternity clothes? Got it covered. Baby essentials? I already know what I want. In some ways I do miss the excitement of research and figuring it all out – which, I guess I could do again since it has been three years since I was pregnant last and I’m sure a lot has changed.

On the other hand, being pregnant again is nerve wracking – but for different reasons than last time. Physically, emotionally and mentally I know what to expect. I know it’s hard physically as the weeks go on. I know I will have crazy hormones and emotions and will feel like I’m going insane. I know there is the mental game of mommy guilt that starts the minute you get a positive pregnancy test. But this time I can’t prepare for juggling a toddler with a newborn. I can’t prepare for how adding a second kid into the mix will effect my work that I’ve seen grow so exponentially in the last few months. I can’t plan for so many things like that and I just have to let it go and be okay with the fact that, just like with Ezra, things will settle into a new normal that will work for our family.

But, if you’re reading this and are the mama (or dad!) of 2+ kids, I appreciate any and all tips you may have!

And, until May, whenever this new baby decides to make his or her appearance, I’ll be wondering and waiting, planning and laughing at myself for planning. Only 27 weeks to go :)

Posted in Pregnancy No comments

The beauty of a friend

Your best friend. Your closest friend. Whatever you call her, and perhaps there are more than one of “her”, she is as dear to you as someone can be.

You could pick her out of a crowd of ten million. To you, she is the most beautiful woman not only because it’s a fact, but because she knows you and still loves you.

You can call her at any time of day or night, and with just that connection of the line your worries seem a little less worrisome and a little more conquerable. She is your reserve of strength when you’re plumb out. Somehow, she helps you go on.

She has the words. All the words you can’t quite figure out, or don’t quite know how to say. She has them, and she puts them together in ways that help you better understand, help you see more clearly, help you laugh when you need to (or cry). But she only uses them when you absolutely need it, because she knows that you have them too and all you really needed was a little push.

She laughs with you (and sometimes at you, but you know you’re hilarious so it’s okay), and her smile is amazing. Best of all, she laughs at all the same things you find funny – even the really inappropriate ones. And her favorites match up just right, and when they don’t that’s also okay because it just means more for you (always a plus in the event of different chocolate tastes).

hydrangea bouquet

The memories you share. All the things you’ve done together – some stupid, some mundane, some thrilling – they make up your story together. And you draw on those memories, to add to them or to work through them. Some of them become jokes over time, some of them stick with you and you learn from them.

This woman – your best friend – is a vision. More than conventionally speaking, she’s a vision because just when you felt like no one would ever see you, there she was. You struck up a casual conversation and from there, days turned to weeks, turned to months, turned to years. Piece by piece, you shared your life with her, and she with you, and it was in those moments that something amazing happened.

You realized how integral she became to your day-to-day and so you said it out loud – you are my best friend. And she agreed that you are hers. Maybe you didn’t say it to one another; that doesn’t really matter. All that matters is you both know it.

How lucky you are to have one another. The familiarity and the comfort, the give and the take. How do you ever convey to her the impact and the meaning she has to you? How do you make sure she knows, without a doubt, that her not being a part of your life is something you can’t even fathom?

You do it like this –

You call her and invite her out to coffee. And when you see her, you look her in the eyes and you say, “Tell me everything. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to.”

And she’ll know, because through everything she has done for you over these years, you’ve done the same for her. It’s your being there that tells her you can’t make it alone. It’s how she knows.

Posted in Daily Journal, Inspiration 2 comments

The year I turned 30

This is the year I turned 30.

It’s the year that I thought things would come together. Turning 30 is one of those monumental life changes that you see in the movies and hear about from your friends. It’s when life is supposed to make sense.

I’ve only been 30 for about six and a half months, and I would say this has not been the year I thought was in store for me, but isn’t that the way it goes?

I have questioned more things – about myself, about the world – in these last six months than I have ever in my previous 29 years. I haven’t come up with many answers.

I found myself in the middle of a crisis of faith, as cliche as that sounds, and looking for a way to breathe through something like that is not easy. When your solid foundation gets a few deep cracks that you just can’t fill in, you start to wonder… who is this God I have flung myself into wholeheartedly for so many years? Who is He anyway? Where is He when children are harmed, and no one speaks a word about it. Where is His hand in that moment?

bouquet of roses

That’s what has hit me most deeply. The violence. And the innocence. It’s a hurt that’s palpable. A hurt that I felt to my very core, that manifested in physical pain and that robbed me of sleep and still, as I type this, brings me to tears because I don’t understand and I don’t know that I ever will. The lack of understanding was what jarred me. The bandaid answers you so often hear to explain away a bad event couldn’t cover it. They weren’t enough and I was left empty handed and confused. But mostly I was left with doubt.

I alluded to this not long ago. I had read something that so shook me, I was unable to get the images out of my mind. Coupled with the fact that since the day my son was born, my heart began to exist on my sleeve and grew to at least ten times the capacity it had ever been before, just the hint of an injustice toward a small one who has no means of defense was enough to rattle me deeply. I don’t know why, but this particular story at this particular time was too much.

Some people eat when they’re stressed. Some people shut down. I clean. So I cleaned and cleaned. And when there was nothing left to clean, I did the second thing that helps me decompress and that’s standing under the shower. Usually the water drowns out whatever thoughts I can’t deal with, but not then. Because it wasn’t thoughts I was hearing. It was pictures in my brain that I couldn’t erase. I couldn’t turn them off.

I saved my tears for that night. After the house was asleep, I crept into my son’s room and held him, then wept on the floor. I’ve never known a wrenching cry until that moment. And when I had nothing left, I sat outside on the porch in my quiet, small-town neighborhood and wrote.

bouquet of flowers

But I couldn’t pray. Maybe what I wrote was a prayer, but I couldn’t address the One who I would normally turn to because I felt so unbelievably let down. And even in that moment, realizing that was how I felt made things ten times worse because I had never questioned – never! – His goodness and His wisdom. I hadn’t needed to, because I always felt and deeply believed He was in control. I can’t begin to explain the way I knew to the depth of my being who God was – is – and His hand on my life, because not only is it a completely different story but it’s also very personal. All I can equate this to is like being left out in the cold, with no way of knowing when you’ll find home again.

As the days became weeks and the weeks have become months, today I continue to work through this break with my faith.

I continue to see the stories in the news – “Child beaten to death by father,” “Man linked to ring of child porn,” “Mother abandons dead baby in a dumpster.” I know you’ve seen those same headlines. Each one was like ripping the bandaid off all over again, and starting at zero. How do you make excuses for a world that is so cruel? How do you go about your day to day stuff, knowing full well what’s happening miles from your home – or maybe even in your own neighborhood? How do you go back to sleep once you’ve been woken up?

You simply don’t. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I couldn’t forget. I couldn’t drown myself in the details of life, and I couldn’t explain away the evil of the world so that I could go back to my regularly scheduled programming. I know we all have these turning points in our lives. A moment that occurs where you find yourself at a crossing, where you have to choose how to move forward (or how not to), and that changes a little bit of who you are. There is no going back. This was my turning point.

field of tulips cincinnati zoo

I’m still walking it.

Today, I have a new prayer that I keep in my heart. I pray for the world around me – the world that my son is growing up in – but more than that, I pray for opportunity. This prayer isn’t an isolated act that I do before bed; I’m praying all day long. I’m searching, every day, for opportunity. How can I help? Where am I needed? What can I do, send, knit, make… how can I be used? Because I realized, through my silence and through my frustration, my anger, I accomplished nothing. I isolated myself. I felt myself growing bitter and hard.

So I leaned in to my turning point, and I tuned out my doubts and focused on the truth of what I knew. My questions go unanswered, still, and they probably always will. I have to be okay with that, because knowing the answer doesn’t really solve the problem – the problem will always exist so long as there are people on this earth, because we are all imperfect and we are all capable of unspeakable things. But I know how to address that. I can choose to look for opportunities. And I can teach my son to do the same.

Today, I temper my doubt with truth. I don’t walk blindly as I once did, but I also don’t walk alone. Can I say I’ve come out on the other side stronger? I don’t know. But this isn’t really about me, is it? When your life intersects with someone else’s hurt, it stops being about you and your story becomes something much bigger.

I have no amazing epiphany to share, no real words of wisdom that you can pin. All I have is my story and my prayer. And if you find yourself doubting, and questioning, I hope you’ll find a prayer of your own, too. You never have to walk alone.

Posted in Daily Journal No comments

A To Do List for the Playroom

The main reason we chose the Davidson floorplan for our Drees home was because of the play room.

Oddly enough, this is the space I kind of dislike the most about our house. But it’s only because I have no idea what to do with it. It’s a big room, which makes it a little overwhelming.

So this post is all about a few ideas I have for how to set this room up. Here’s how it looks today –

playroom in drees davidson home

playroom in drees davidson home

playroom in drees davidson home

playroom in drees davidson home

So, pretty much a blank slate, huh? As you can tell, this room kind of became the catch-all for the furniture from our old house that didn’t really have a place in this new house. To give an idea of the space, it’s 17′ x 21.5′ (length) – large and just a little awkward due to the half wall by the stairs and the wall of windows. There are really only two usable walls where you can put things, and one is cut short by being right by the entry.

One of the first things I would love to do this in this room is add window treatments – especially because the sun sets at the back of our house, so this room heats up fast in the late afternoon/early evening – paint the walls and maybe add some kind of decorative trim. So, here are a few ideas I’ve got swirling in my head as to what that might look like.

Back when we went under contract, I created a paint colors board on Pinterest and added a bunch of palettes that caught my eye. The tricky thing with painting the playroom is it eventually shares walls with basically the entire first floor of the house and the hallway upstairs – because the couch wall technically goes all the way over to the stairwell, which goes downstairs and leads to the wall with the television on it, which goes to the fireplace, and so on. I’m not against accent walls (and if I was going to do an accent wall in the playroom, I would make it either the wall where the couch currently is, or the wall with the windows) but regardless, I want a whole-room color that’s neutral enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing it throughout the entire house.

design seeds knife tones

new year sparkle design seeds

Both of the above palettes are from Design Seeds and for some reason, the Pinterest link doesn’t take me directly to the original page where it was pinned from. But if you need some paint palette inspiration, definitely visit that site.

Our kitchen and living room have a bit of a purpley undertone to them because of the granite – which has large splotches of very dark purple in it. So that’s why I’m kind of being drawn to navy and dark plum for accent colors. The color I would slap on the walls? In the first palette option, I would put the very bottom grey (but probably two shades – at least – lighter). And the second palette, I would put the top color on the walls. Now that I’m looking at these stacked up together, I think the second shade of grey in the bottom picture is the same shade of grey in the top one?

The purples and navy tones would come in through pillows and decorative accents.

Keeping this in mind, though, a friend of mine planted the idea of doing a board and batten treatment around the room. I love that idea, but because of the room’s openness, I’m not entirely sure how it would look – unless we only did it on the wall with the windows? If we did it in the whole room, I feel like it would also have to go in the upstairs hallway, then down the stairs as well.

board and batten around window

Via House of Hepworths

Something like that would be really cool and fairly doable on just one wall. Take a look at the wall of windows again -

I could easily see doing the whole window wall in a board and batten style treatment, and keeping it simple with some white shades.

I’m also still brainstorming on what I want to do in terms of furniture placement. I’m debating painting the existing TV stand (because there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s great for toy storage), as well as the table behind the couch both a dark navy or purple. I would love to swap out the couch for a sectional, but I am a little concerned that might eat up a lot of play space.

But mostly what the room needs is toy storage. What you can’t see from the pictures is in the corner where the basketball hoop is a plastic bin full of miscellaneous toys that won’t fit in the TV stand. It really becomes a mess in that corner as the week goes on and things get played with, then tossed back in the bin haphazardly.

So, with all of this in mind, here’s my To Do list for the Playroom -

  • Paint the walls, upstairs hallway and stairwell some light shade of grey (with the eventual plan being to also paint the living room, kitchen, eat-in area the same shade of grey)
  • Add a board & batten treatment to the window wall
  • Add some simple white 2″ faux wood shades to the three windows
  • Paint the TV stand – not sure on the color yet
  • Paint the accent table – not sure on the color yet
  • Better lighting; relocate table lamps elsewhere
  • Toy storage solution
  • Better/more seating

I would love to hear any ideas you might have for this space! Thanks for reading :)




Posted in Building with Drees, Home No comments

Castles and Factories

“Oh wow, look! A castle!”

It wasn’t actually a castle. It was a huge industrial plant that we were driving past, but Ezra’s little toddler eyes saw something else.

“It sure is, bud!” I replied.

We passed a few more castles on our way to our destination – each met with just as much enthusiasm from my passenger in the backseat – and that little voice in my head came up. If you’re a parent, you know the voice I’m talking about. It’s the one that tells you all the things you’re doing wrong.

“You should have corrected him,” it said. “You shouldn’t let him think a factory is a castle. You should have told him it’s a place where people build things.”

I generally try to ignore that voice when it comes up. No good comes from it – usually – and anyway, most of the time, I think I’m a pretty laid back mama and I let things roll off my back.

For some reason, though, this particular little moment in time stuck with me throughout the day and that voice would not let up. That night, as I laid in bed, I thought about castles and factories, perceptions and realities. I thought about simplicity and complexity, childhood and adulthood.

I do some of my best thinking at night, because usually it takes me a good long while to fall asleep.

And as I was pondering all of these things, I came to realize that, right now, it’s my job to protect and nurture the simplicity of childhood. There will be a time when we’ll drive down that road and my backseat passenger will be a little bigger, and he’ll know we’re driving through our city’s industrial quarter and there are no castles there.

The reality will be that the magic has gone, and he’s moved on to other things. And while growing up isn’t a bad thing – it’s my little boy’s job right now, after all – it is a thing that doesn’t have to happen quite so fast.

In the meantime, I want him to find the castles. And maybe even imagine there are knights fighting dragons within those walls. I love his exclamations when we drive past big rigs, construction sites and train tracks – things I’ve long since become used to seeing as I make my way around our city, things that have lost their magic to me.

So I’ll quiet that voice and save the should-haves for another time and, for now, keep it simple and keep it sweet.

Posted in Home, Motherhood No comments