The Newborn Phase

Image by J. Mears

Hudson Jay Mears was born November 7, 2012. He arrived 13 days sooner than expected with an active labor and delivery totaling less than 5 hours. Motherhood took off like a rocket and I was not ready for what the early days had in store for me.

The last five months have been incredible and humbling. I've worked harder, felt more joy and more depression than ever in my life. Parenthood launched me into a world of extremes and I have had to re-learn how to balance. Before I launch into how wonderful things are now (which they are, Hudson's amazing) and how every day is full of more joy, happiness and challenge than I have ever known. I must start by being honest about how difficult the first three months were for me. I share this because I was shocked at myself for feeling what I felt the first three months. I had pictured strolls in our city neighborhood, picnics in Golden Gate Park, brunch with friends with my Bugaboo Bee parked next to me (it's laughable to me now). My reality was crying, nursing, swaddling, burps, shushing, crying and crying again (the baby and me).

The truth is, I was very naive about what life with a newborn would be like, even though I probably read over a dozen books to be as prepared as possible. Looking back now, I realize that I thought I was coming home from the hospital with a 4 or 5 month old. I had never really spent time with a newborn, all the babies I had seen strolling out and about were passed the newborn phase. I was clueless, but didn't know I was clueless and that was my biggest mistake.

It's true what everyone says, nothing can really prepare you for parenthood- you just have to experience it. I didn't believe that at the time. I thought, of course you can prepare, preparation is my middle name. I had a plan, I read The Baby Whisperer, Babywise, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, the list goes on. But what I ignored was the fine print in each book which states "each baby is different." For a planner like me, the early days of motherhood were not easy. Let me caveat that by saying, I loved my baby boy to pieces, but I was devastated at every turn and overwhelmed by the smallest of decisions. Lucky for me, I had friends, parents (thank you thank you mom and dad), in-laws and an amazing husband (I could not have got through it without Jay) to help me get to where I needed to be. But it took awhile, 13 weeks to be exact, for me to feel like myself and get a grip on my new normal and my new life as a mom. Once I got through the newborn phase, it was like a switch went off and things just got easier. There were smiles, longer naps, 8 hour sleep stretches - and then came the strolls, the picnics and the general predictability which I had envisioned.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mother. But I wanted to share my struggles with the blogosphere because when I was in the thick of it, I felt very alone. I wanted to let anyone out there struggling to know, it gets better - and easier - and completely amazing. Those smiles and laughs will come and they will melt your heart.

Image by K. Mears

Petit Oh!

Photos by K. Mears

I've been told and warned by many friends not to purchase too many clothes for the baby before the baby is born, since most likely I will receive hand-me-downs and gifts. But I found myself in the sweetest little baby store in Barcelona one evening when we were on vacation in July and I just couldn't help myself (teeny tiny clothing makes my heart melt). The store is called El Mon d'en Dada. I'm not sure how it translates, but it even sounds cute.

Truth be told, it was Jay that found the outfit above. I think it makes a great bringing baby home ensemble. It's a little kimono top with separate bottoms, which from my understanding is a good choice for a squirmy infant. The brand is Petit Oh!, which consists of many stripe and polka dot tops and bottoms. I really love those simple patterns for babies. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in any of our neighborhood stores so I wish I would have splurged a little more while on vacation. All in good time, right?

Five Days in the South of France

Photos by K. Mears
Following our 5 days in Spain, we headed to the south of France for a little relaxation at a slower pace. We were so used to the go-go-go pace of Barcelona, it took us a day or so to get accustomed to the sitting-at-the-beach-all-day attitude. But once we adjusted, we were happy to have some very restful days. 

We stayed in a little town a few miles from Cannes called Theoule sur Mer at a hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It was gorgeous (why doesn't the Pacific Ocean look like this?). We spent lazy mornings eating croissants on our balcony followed by lazy afternoons at the beach. After a few days of this we decided to check out a some of the inland hill towns, so we rented a car and visited Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Vence, Tourrettes-sur-Loup and Gourdon for a day trip. These little towns were so cute and picturesque, it seemed like each building belonged on a postcard. 

After our week of lounging, reading and eating, we were about ready to head home and get back to our regular routines. I know that travel will become much more complicated in a few months, but I look forward to sharing and exploring travels in a new way. I can't wait until our first overseas trip with our baby some day in the future!

Five Days in Spain

Photos by K. Mears

We are back in San Francisco after our two week vacation in Spain and France! It was an amazing trip but it's also good to be back. I was able to relax while we were on vacation but now I feel like I have a gigantic to-do list to attend to before our little boy's arrival. I was putting a lot of things off until after the vacation so now it's time to get to it! But before I launch into the everyday, I wanted to share a few tidbits about our trip while it's still fresh in my mind.

It was my first time to Spain and I must say, I just loved the vibe in Barcelona. We spent most of our time there aside from a quick day trip to Cadaqués where we lounged by the beach. We also visited the former home of Salvador Dalí in nearby Port Lligat which has since been converted into a museum.

As I mentioned here, Gaudi was the theme in Barcelona. We probably visited one of his creations in architecture almost every day. It's amazing that one single person had such influence on the look and feel of a city.

We stayed right on La Rambla which I would highly recommend because it's very central to much of the museums and major city sites and is also close to many metro stops. One of my favorite things to do was to walk down La Rambla and discover little neighborhoods in the Barri Gòtic down narrow winding streets to the left or right of the main street. La Rambla is also great for people watching.

Barcelona was full of energy day and night, which is why I think we enjoyed our time there so much. There was hustle and bustle all day long which made us constantly feel like we were always in the right place.

While I loved visiting sites such as La Pedrera and Sagrada Família, some of our most fun was taking breaks at cute little cafes such as El Bitxo for a quick drink and tapas. Anytime we would find ourselves a little tired of the crowds and heat, we would just stumble into an inviting cafe to reflect on our afternoon. I think that's probably what I will remember the most!

Hello from Barcelona!

Photos by K. Mears

We are spending some time in Spain and France to celebrate the halfway point of our pregnancy. I suppose you could call this our babymoon!

We've been in Barcelona for three days and I can sum up my experience in one word, Gaudi We've been enjoying the amazing art and architecture through the work of Antoni Gaudi. Thus far, we've seen La Pedrera, the Palau Música Opera House, Parc Güell and the gorgeous Sagrada Família. Above are some previews of our photos from La Pedrera and Parc Güell (more to share once we are back).

Tonight we head to Mountjuïc for some fountains and views!

Simply Us + 1

Photo by K. Mears

It's with great joy and excitement that we share, Jay and I are expecting a baby boy this fall! Our little bundle is anticipated to arrive at the end of November. I'm 20 weeks along and am feeling wonderful (thank goodness that pesky first trimester is over).

We are so thrilled and happy to finally share this news. There's much more to come as we begin to prepare our tiny apartment for our new family member. I'm looking forward to all the expected and unexpected discoveries ahead!

Project 52 {Fail}

Photo by J. Mears

Sometimes, good things come to an end. That's the story of my somewhat ambitious Project 52. I started Project 52 in January to help me become more present in the day-to-day and enjoy what's in front of me. In a way, it was meant to help me relax as well. It did accomplish that, but I wasn't able to keep up with the photo inspirations. I got stuck on week 12, which as it turns out, ended up being the beginning of something new.

I'm closing the chapter on my 2012 Project 52. Perhaps I'll give it another go in 2013. Currently I have a new very important project to embrace, one that will last far beyond 52 weeks. And it is one endeavor which I will not quit halfway, that I can absolutely guarantee!