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    A Dog, a Kid, and a Sinkhole

    Before our baby girl Malia came along, our world revolved around our dog, Dexter (and still does, depending on which one of us you talk to). See fig. 1.

    Life's a Beach

    Fig. 1

    We treat him like our son, and I’m 97% sure he thinks he’s one of us. We spoil him endlessly. Treats, mountains of toys, frequent stays at a luxury dog hotel, etc. And in return, he lets us spoon him at night. Fair trade-off.

    Dexter rests his head on my baby bump

    Dex snuggling on my bump

    While pregnant with Malia, I tried to research what was the best way to prepare our pup for a new sibling. I was stressed knowing that Dexter disliked small kids, particularly little boys (luckily for M). To be clear, he is not aggressive. He gets nervous with all their energy and barks at them to settle down and stop the silliness. So I played YouTube videos of babies crying. I let him smell some of the lotions and creams I’d eventually use on her. He familiarized himself with her nursery that we were building. And after she was born, Darick brought home her newborn beanie for him to sniff. All we could do was just cross our fingers.

    We arrived home a few days before Christmas. Slush still lingered along our streets and sidewalks. And to our pleasant surprise (sense the tone), we also came home to a large sinkhole in the front of our house. Nope. Can’t make this stuff up. In other words, we were stuck inside for a very long time.

    Dexter was very cautious and confused, understandably. I think that no amount of preparation could ready him for this change. What happened to all the attention? Why can’t I sit on your lap?

    Dexter nervously looks at me for understanding

     

    Dexter stole her pacifier. Fortunately, he only minimally acted out a few times. For instance, I found one of Malia’s newborn onesies in his house. I have no idea how he got his paws on it. I then put it away in a pile in the closet to wash and then give away. The next morning I caught him taking the onesie back! I think he had plans for it. Voodoo? I’m not sure. I let him keep it. We then caught him with a pacifier. We couldn’t help but laugh. He’s also stolen a few of her toys. Can’t fault him for that; some of the toys even have squeakers. Sophie the Giraffe’s days are numbered.

    These days he is more used to having the girl around. Sometimes I see him sprawled on the bed and snoring while Malia is screaming at the top of her lungs. That’s not to say that he isn’t jealous. When Dex sees me sitting down without Malia anywhere near, he will immediately climb on my lap to take advantage of the rare occasion. Also when he sees me hand feeding her some Puffs, he tries to make eye contact with me, in case I wanted to hand feed him something too.

    Now that Malia is older and mobile, she is certainly more curious about her oddly shaped brother. I am teaching her to softly pet his back (in which he’s still pretty skittish with her unpredictable motions). They are also never alone together. Not that Malia would ever let me out of her sight anyway.

    Malia is trying to figure out dog. Dog does not want her attention.

    Picture nicely depicts how they feel about each other. Perplexed. Alarmed.

    I am still holding out hope that Dex will one day warm up to her. Will he play with her in the backyard in the summertime? Will he walk her to her bus stop and wait by the window until she comes home? Maybe not. But I am sure they’ll make some memories. I also hope he feels that we haven’t forgotten what he means to us. He is not just any dog. He’s our Head of Security.

    Any tips on fostering a friendly relationship between a curious baby and nervous high maintenance dog? Comment down below!

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)

    When Darick and I found out that we were having a baby girl, needless to say, I was overjoyed. Yet as much as I secretly hoped for a girl, I gravitated towards a more neutral nursery. I immediately went to Pinterest and started browsing through countless blogs for inspiration. Similar to our wedding design, I wanted a soft palette with minimal blush tones. As I collected more and more pieces for the nursery, I realized that a subtle theme would be flora and fauna–appropriately representing new life. This is what I came up with (everything will be listed at the bottom):

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    Since we had limited space, I tried to keep the pieces as functional as possible. I loved these ledges which proudly display Malia’s budding book collection. I switch out the featured books from time to time, but it is a great space saver. The handwoven wall hanging added the cozy touch I was looking for.

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    Anyone who knows me knows that I love shopping for deals if I can! When I browsed through other nursery blogs, I noticed that so many moms chose this dresser. For good reason too! Loved the simple look, the number of drawers, and of course the price for that size of a dresser. I opted for the white, semi-gloss vs. the white stain (the semi-gloss is much easier to wipe down, if you know what I mean). I replaced the plain knobs with affordable knobs from Home Depot for a more unique look (you can also go the fancier route with Anthropologie, but with that many knobs… $$$). You can also find genius ways to organize your HEMNES dresser too!

    *Consideration: always secure your dresser and other heavy furniture to the wall to prevent accidents.

    The geometric lamp gives a woodland vibe, especially when surrounded by faux succulents. Also, having a letter board is so fun for a nursery. Our very first inspirational quote for Malia read,

    When they zig, we zag.

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    Many of the trinkets on these shelves are from Anthropologie like the plush ballerina, nesting critter dolls, and the framed artwork of a bridge in Portland. It’s not of the prettiest bridge in town, but it’s one that leads to home. Others are from Rifle Paper Co. such as the gorgeous hardcover of Little Women, the Monstera leaf print, and the large Un Deux Trois print, better seen in the previous photo. Of course, the stuffed dachshund is an homage to our first born, Dexter.

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    The focal point of the room is the collage of woodland animals. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense why they’re wearing floral crowns like they’re off to Coachella, but I thought it was the sweetest thing Malia could see when she opened her eyes.

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    Next to her closet hang these two Pillowfort pinboards featuring precious gifts from friends and her ultrasound from when she was just a peanut.

    Mama + Baby Cave (Neutral Nursery)
    Most days, you will find us in the grey glider in the corner either nursing or reading stories. Our crib is from Babyletto, of course adjustable to different levels and can convert to a toddler bed when she gets older. The forest poster in the other corner was picked up by Malia’s uncle when he visited the UK. Otherwise, this room changed a bit since we took this photo. We swapped out the rug (it shed constantly and quickly felt rough) for a similar style rug from Lorena Canals, but it’s machine washable. YES, that’s right. They rarely go on sale, but I snagged it recently during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Also we switched out the delicate, airy curtains for some blackout curtains because let’s face it–this girl needs to sleep.

    If you are addicted to Target like me (and every other mama out there), they’re offering 30% off kids’ home and furniture, including Pillowfort, which is one of my favorite lines. Plus if you have a Target REDcard, it’s an additional 5% off + free shipping. Offer ends on Tuesday 8/22, so be sure to check it out before it ends!

    30% off kids' home and furniture at Target, including Pillowfort

    I will be shopping for those animal heads… and maybe that octopus.

    Sources:

    Book Ledges | Wall Hanging | Dresser | Dresser Knobs | Changing Pad Cover | Geometric Lamp | Letter Board | Shelves + Brackets | Plush Ballerina | Nesting Critter Dolls | Little Women Book Monstera Leaf Print | Un Deux Trois Print | Stuffed Dachshund | Woodland Animal Prints | Pinboards | Glider | Crib | Forest Poster | Floor Lamp | Pictured Rug | Pictured Sheer Curtains

     

    *Post is definitely not sponsored (HA! I wish), but it contains some affiliate links. 

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    The ‘Hood

    Jamie Jones Photography

    I always knew that motherhood would be tough.

    However, in the back of my mind, I honestly thought I could handle it. I am a night shift RN. I’m used to switching around my sleeping schedule frequently, cleaning up bodily fluids, handling stressful and critical situations, and caring for someone who cannot care for themselves. I’m college educated. I read parenting books and blogs. I went to childbirth + parenting prep classes. I totally got this!

    Enter Malia:

    Jamie Jones Photography

    I gave birth to one tough cookie. She gave me a run for my money straight from the get-go. From birth to breastfeeding, from tummy time to car rides, and to sleep (or lack thereof), my daughter challenged me all along the way. She is what one would call a “high-needs” baby (more on that in a later post). Although there were times I wondered why my baby was so different, Malia’s heart-tugging moments of silliness and laughter dissipated all those thoughts of self-pity.

    That’s when I knew that I wanted to start blogging. What still gets me through the hardest days of motherhood is venting to other mamas who have gone through some of the same struggles, and even if they haven’t, their support and encouragement is incredibly uplifting. And regardless if anyone ends up reading these posts, it will still give me a chance to read through these early stages of parenting and hopefully, I will look back and be proud of the mama I was learning to be. So if you are reading these posts as a first time mom, or you are expecting, or just hoping to see adorable pictures of Malia, I am glad you are here to join me on this fulfilling journey of mamahood.

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