Violet’s Nursery

I kept putting this post off because we’ve rearranged a few things in Violet’s nursery, and added curtains, so things look slightly different. But if I wait until I have a new set of pictures, it just might never happen.

The essence of her nursery is still the same. Her room is actually the office/sunroom attached to the master bedroom. When we moved in, we were planning on making it the office until we realized it would be perfect for a nursery. And the steps spared from walking to the second bedroom during those first few weeks of sleepless nights proved to be a life saver.

The only “theme” in Violet’s nursery is the banner I made for her of literary heroines, which is only on the mantel for the purposes of this high-quality photo (the lighting in the nursery just wasn’t working with it).

When we found out we were having a girl, the first thing I thought of was, “We can read Anne of Green Gables together!” She can be whatever she wants to be (aren’t I generous?), but one thing I hope she is, is a reader.

Violet's nursery-JenEric Generation

Aside from the literary heroines banner, I stuck to a pretty neutral color scheme, with my favorite mustard yellow chair as the focal point. One of the bonuses of her room being connected to ours is that I get to stare at the happiest corner of our home from my side of the bed. Somehow, it is the easiest space to keep clutter-free, which is a huge plus.

Violet's nursery-JenEric Generation

I had those tissue paper pom-poms leftover from a shower I hosted a few years ago, and threw them up in that corner shortly after we moved in, the rest of the room still covered in boxes. I love that it looks like a fluffy cloud hovering over her crib!

Violet's nursery--JenEric Generation

This paper crane mobile is from Eric’s mom and step dad. I think it is just as memorizing as Violet does. Her head tilts back and she stares at it with her mouth agape when we walk underneath it with her.

Violet's nursery-JenEric Generation

This yellow chair is my favorite piece of furniture we own. It holds special meaning as it is one of the few things we packed into the trailer last year and brought with us. It brightens up the nursery beautifully! And that basket of books thrills me to my toes. It’s only a small collection, but it will grow. And I can’t wait to find out what her favorites are. I won’t be disappointed if she prefers these.

Violet's nursery-JenEric Generation

I love this teal storage cart. I’ve changed it up a little bit since these pictures were taken, though. I now have her diapers in the white basket underneath her changing table, and the top shelf of the cart is reserved mostly for her lamp and sound machine. That sound machine is great, by the way (it’s this one). Since her room is adjoined with ours, we have to listen to it too, and the white noise setting is not annoying (and the ocean waves are relaxing). It’s also light weight and portable, which is great for taking to the grandparents’ house!

Violet's Nursery--JenEric Generation

You can tell by the look on her face that she so appreciates all the thought that we put into her room. Babies.

But for real, babies. Living with one is so much more fun than I ever thought it would be.

The rest of these pictures were taken by Eric. And all of these photos were taken with my old Canon camera, on 35mm film. I had forgotten how much I love 35mm. You may see more of them in the future…

Violet's Nursery--JenEric Generation

Violet's Nursery--JenEric Generation

Violet's Nursery--JenEric Generation

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The Beauty of Aging

frances-mcdormand-nytimes-aging-jeneric-generation

We recently watched the movie Fargo for the first time (!!!), and I just loved Frances McDormand’s character. Have you seen this video of her talking about the aging process in our society today? I’d seen it before, but I liked it even better when I re-discovered it.

Frances talks about the tragedy of our culture’s obsession with hiding the signs of aging. Our obsession with looking perpetually youthful relays a much deeper message: that growing old is not a gift.

And if growing old is a curse rather than a blessing, then every hour that passes is tainted with fear.

As McDormand opines, taking away ten years off your face with surgery is taking away ten years of your life that you should be proud of. If wrinkles and sagging skin are a sign of life well-lived, then it shouldn’t be anything to hide, right?

What do you think of Frances McDormand’s message about aging? How did we come to be a country that values youth over wisdom? Plenty of other cultures don’t fear the aging process.

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P.S. I’d love to look exactly like this woman one day.

One Year Later

family pic-1

One year ago, I was six weeks pregnant. I was turning in my two-weeks notice at work, and starting to think about packing up our tiny little apartment, five miles outside Washington, DC.

I don’t do well keeping secrets. I can keep yours like a locked safe and a lost key, but my own secrets rattle around inside of me, making me feel a little dishonest. At work, my boss knew I was moving. She even knew I was pregnant. But the rest of my coworkers thought I was going to be around to help plan the fall company picnic, of which I was on the committee.

“Yes, I’ll be in charge of that,” I told the committee director, knowing full well I would be long gone and several states away by the time I was expected to act on my promises.

When I turned in my two-weeks-notice I apologized to the people who were counting on me. At the same moment, I was overwhelmed by a wave of utter and complete apathy. I felt like a caged  bird being set free, and it was suddenly clear that the cage wasn’t so great after all. One of my coworkers cheered me on, and told me he was so happy for us, that we were getting out of “this place”. He didn’t mean work, he meant the DC area.

DC can feel like a rat race sometimes. There was so much I loved about the city (I did choose to move there, after all), but so much that was causing major stress in our lives. Eric and I both knew it was time to move on.

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Leaving felt exactly like reading the final pages of a lengthy, beloved book. It ends at just the right moment, but leaves you with a small ache in your chest, wishing for a little bit more. But a good writer knows it’s not always best to give you exactly what you want.

I said goodbye to the girl inside me who moved to DC at the baby age of twenty-two, and wondered at the next chapter laying out before me. And with what feels like a snap of my fingers, here it is, one year later.

And I can say this: it’s been a good year. Not always easy, but good. One thing about coming home is that you gain a perspective you didn’t have before. Things that I once took for granted are now more appreciated.

From here, the goals and dreams we have for our family look more attainable. New chapters can be scary, but if the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that change isn’t as scary as it seems. You just have to keep on keepin’ on.

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Motherhood Myths: An Interview

 

Motherhood Myths--satire for everyone from JenEric Generation

The following is an interview with myself.

Hey, guys! Jenny is the author of the blog JenEric Generation, and today I am talking to her about a most fascinating topic I’m sure we can all relate to: her life. More specifically, her life as a new mom.

Jenny: Hi, Jenny. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to answer a few of my burning questions!

Me: It’s no problem, Jenny! I have a few minutes before Violet wakes up for her next feeding. Did you know that babies eat every few hours?

Jenny: I did! I did.

Let’s go ahead and jump right in, since we have a lot to cover today. First, the most burning question of all, I was wondering if staying at home with your four-month-old was more challenging than having a full-time job?

Me: Well, Jenny, the short answer is no. But then, the two are drastically different in my mind. As you know, I worked for five years after college, before exchanging my salary for being covered in spit up and slobbery kisses (she’s still working on the kisses). I liked being a working woman, for the most part, but my job wasn’t one that I saw myself in long term. Now that I stay home, I face many different challenges, but I find being with a baby all day to be much less stressful than working at a job I wasn’t excited about.

Jenny: Are you actually covered in spit up?

Me: No, that’s just a thing we moms say. It’s basically another way of saying “I don’t shower every day”.

Jenny: Right. So, I was wondering if you felt comfortable talking about postpartum weight loss. Is the baby weight just melting away?

Me: Oh, sure. Bring on the postpartum weight loss questions! Because I have all the answers. I understand everything about postpartum weight loss!

Jenny: Hahaha!

Me: I knew you would get the sarcasm! It’s so great being interviewed by someone so…familiar.

The truth is, breastfeeding to lose weight is not a comprehensive weight loss program. In fact, some women on the internet would call it an outright lie. I join their many voices. It just doesn’t seem right that after carrying around a human being inside you for nine months, and then pushing it out of your body, your body can’t be more on your side. You know? Instead, it seems to be all, “I have a great idea. We are going to hang on to these last ten pounds in case the end of the world happens while you are breastfeeding and your baby’s survival depends on them.”

Is it really too much to ask to be able to fit into your old wardrobe a few weeks after giving birth? Essentially, we stay-at-home-moms just want the same thing working women want: It All.

Jenny: The moral of the story then, is that our bodies have both good ideas and bad ideas. The good ideas being…

Me: …growing babies.

Jenny: Exactly. So, another question I had was whether or not you are getting enough sleep as a new mom. And as the Voice of All Mothers, I was wondering if you could tell me…

Me: Hey now, I never pretended to be the Voice of All Mothers.

Jenny: But you agreed to this interview.

Me: Yeah, and that hardly means…

Jenny: Relax! I’m just messing with you. I, of all people, know you aren’t yourself when you’re sleep deprived.

Me: Oh! Haha. Okay. But hey, wait, I’m not sleep deprived! I pride myself on Violet’s great sleep habits.

Jenny: Oh, so you are one of THOSE parents who takes credit for their children’s sleep habits? Just wait until you have your next kid.

Me: Gee, thanks for the encouragement.

Jenny: I’m sorry. I shouldn’t treat you like that. Let’s get back on track. Talk to me about your social life.

Me: [mocking voice] ‘talk to me about your social life‘.

Jenny: Is that to say…you don’t have one?

Me: Of course I have a social life. I’m with another human being all day long! And in addition to that, I do things. No really, I do. The only difference between my social life pre-baby and now is that now it’s just harder to have a social life.

Jenny: You are making a lot of sense. One thing I continually read on the internet is that mom’s need a lot of alcohol to survive on a daily basis. What is your opinion on that?

Me: Mom’s can’t do everything on their own, that is certainly true. But where you get that extra help is between you and God. But I don’t think moms are drinking as much as we think they are.

Jenny: Oh, are the jokes about drinking just another code for “I don’t shower every day”?

Me: No. It’s more like code for: “Just go ahead and judge me. I dare you.” If there is one thing moms get up in arms about, it’s…

Jenny: Not letting their kids watch more than thirty minutes of TV every day?

Me: …No. I was going to say: being judged by other moms.

Jenny: Ah, and no one wants to admit that someone else might be a better parent, is that it? Is it because all moms want to feel like they are in the same boat?

Me: More like the same life raft!

Jenny: Hahahaha! What a hoot you are.

Me: It’s just that I’m a mom now, and I get this whole “being a mom” business so much better. I even get all the jokes.

Jenny: So is the best part about being a mom, being in the mom “club”?

Me: The club certainly has a lot of perks, not limited to showering less frequently and 100% freedom from all judgment. The main perk though, I’d say, is being responsible for the well-being of another person.

Jenny: You’d call that a perk? Most people would call that a huge burden. In fact, I think that may be why some people are hesitant to procreate.

Me: Is it? Huh. Funny how having a kid changes things.

Jenny: Having children changes a lot of things, doesn’t it?

Me: In some ways.

Jenny: Only in some?

Me: Sure. Some things never change. For instance, this constant inner dialogue I have. Now that I’m a mom it’s called “motherly instinct”, whereas before it was called “self-doubt”.

Jenny: You’re not constantly sure of yourself?

Me: Not constantly, no.

Jenny: Now you just sound like you are trying very hard to be non-offensive.

Me: Well, yes, that is the way of the internet these days. If you want to share your opinions, you better be prepared for a debate. If you want to share your opinions without a debate, you better do it in a virtually undetectable manner.

Jenny: But then what’s the point of sharing your opinions at all?

Me: That is the best question you have asked today.

Jenny: Unfortunately, there isn’t an answer for everything.

Me: Well, actually, I did have a few thoughts on that…

Jenny: Thanks so much for letting me interview you today, Jenny. You must know that I am your harshest critic.

Me: Yes, I do know that, thank you.

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