Monday, March 9, 2015

#SchultzHouseHunt has Begun


I stopped at Lowe's on Saturday for some odds-and-ends. I let the girls stop at the paint chip kiosk to consider bedroom colors for their new room. It may be putting the cart before the horse a bit, since we have not even made an offer. But alas, the #SchultzHouseHunt has officially begun.

I've been dreading this, to be perfectly honest.

We owned a home once before, it was the first order of business when I got my first job. It was a beautiful little townhome in Lawrence with a sweet enclosed patio and warm kitchen. We brought Carolyn home from the hospital to that little house. She learned to walk there and posed for her first and second Christmas card photos in the make-shift photo studio Brandon had created in the kitchen. She ran naked from the bath to her beautiful nursery with wide blue stripes and white furniture. She bounced in her Johnny Jump Up in the living room. I loved that house.

Then Brandon got a job in Lee's Summit and I was commuting to Lenexa everyday so we decided we needed to move. When the full-priced offer on our beloved house included a very quick moving date we were left in a bit of a lurch, but conveniently my grandparents had a duplex coming available that we could move into while we figured out a housing solution.

I had just found out I was pregnant and I remember the time being a bit hurried and stressful. The morning we were moving into the duplex the current renters were moving out. We would come in the front door as they were going out the garage. The poor woman who was leaving was very pregnant and had not been able to give the kitchen and bathrooms a good scrub, so we unpacked boxes and scrubbed simultaneously. My Grandma was down on the kitchen floor with me, prepping for our family's transition to Kansas City, making us feel comfortable and welcome in this new place.

For many months we considered the duplex a temporary solution. Then we brought baby Julia home to the duplex and we celebrated a Christmas, and then another. I quit my first job, stayed home for a while, then started at Black & Veatch. The memories began to pile up.

And then in November of 2008 on an ordinairy Thursday night, my phone rang. I stood in the kitchen staring at the cluttered refrigerator door... the memory is still very clear... and my mom told me that they thought my Grandma had had a stroke. I tried staying calm, Brandon was somewhere not at home, I called him and asked him to come home quickly so I could go be with my Grandma. Then another call, I was on the couch, it was not a stroke, it was much worse, I should hurry. My in-laws came right over, I sobbed the whole way to the hospital. Brandon drove. In three short days my Grandma was gone.

For a while I marked time with that Thursday. "She was still alive last week right now" I would think to myself, then "last month right now", then "last year right now." My sister gave us all a beautifully framed photo of my grandparents on their front porch and I hung it in one of the most traveled spots in our home, in her home technically. At the urging of my Grandpa I took her clothes, I hung them in our spare closet. In the meantime I subconsciously hunkered down emotionally and financially to stay put in the duplex, right where she left me, as completely odd as that might sound seven years later.

I did not connect all of these pieces at the time, of course. It took a move to Baltimore and many hours with an exceptional therapist to truly appreciate the important roll my Grandma had played in my life and why her sudden death was still having ripple effects years later. When I confessed to the therapist, in a moment of complete emotional honesty, that I could never leave the duplex because my Grandma "couldn't find me if I did" I realized that I had emotional work to do. Healing.

So, I have, I think. I have thought often about Grandma and what she had hoped for me, for Brandon, for our girls... even the little one she never met. I have cleaned out the closet in the spare room. I have parted with toys she gave the girls that they had long-since outgrown. I have saved money, rather than spend at-will, in order to be ready to make the monumental move. And, nine years after moving into this "temporary" duplex, I think we are ready to start another chapter of home ownership.

In April it will have been nine years since we moved into the duplex. This is the longest I have ever lived in one place at any time in my life. We brought two babies home to this house, started a business in this house, played countless games of Catan in this house and the girls went from Kindergarten through Fourth Grade in this house. It will be hard to leave our cozy little duplex, I'll probably cry a little, but it's time. Let the #SchultzHouseHunt begin!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Best of Baby Gear (lately)

When my first two girls were born (in 2004 and 2006) I found the selection of baby gear to be overwhelming... but when I re-entered the world of babies in 2014 it was clear a number of designers have been expanding the world of baby gadgets and gizmos to all new proportions.

Here are five items that have come along since my older girls were born that have made the first month so much easier...

1. green sprouts Burp Pads - while burp clothes are nothing new, these "burp pads" are new and improved. The size is perfect, larger than the traditional cloths I used with the first two, able to catch any unexpected eruption. The kidney bean shape means it drapes over your shoulder brilliantly. And the organic muslin fabric means these pads are super soft and gentle on baby as she rests on my shoulder.

2. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket - it seems muslin fabric is the new "thing" in baby products, but there is a reason... it is light and gentle but has enough give that is can wrap a baby up snug as a bug in a rug. When she was brand new these blankets were perfect for a tight swaddle and now that she's growing the large size of the swaddle make it perfect for a cover for breastfeeding and a light blanket for napping.

3. Rock n Play Sleeper - seriously, seriously this is a must-have. The hammock shape of this (what I call) bassinet makes new babies feel snug and cozy. It is super light weight and portable so it can move from beside the bed at night to the school room during the day. Many other mamas have told me their little ones used this for naps well past the earliest (sleepless) days.

4. Wubbanub - This is one of those products that you look at and wonder "why is that necessary, is this just another infomercial gimmick?" I assure you it is not. The brilliance behind the Wubbanub is that it lays gently across baby's chest and even at 4 weeks our little one instinctively grabs on and gently cradles. Plus it is easier to keep track of and it's adorable.

5. Kiinde Breastfeeding System - Thankfully I have two more precious weeks before my maternity leave ends, but I have already found this system to be ingenious. The concept is basically that you pump into a twist-lock bag that is then transformed into the "bottle" through a nipple attachment, meaning no pouring between bottles and hardly any parts to wash.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gwyneth's Birth

And so it happened that at my 39 week appointment my blood pressure was a little high. It was decided I should go to the hospital to be monitored and the doctor ultimately decided to keep me for induction the next morning. I had taken myself to the hospital, fully expecting to be sent home (this had happened with Carolyn 10 years ago), so when she told me I would be staying I got a bit weepy and texted Brandon that it was "go-time." There was much excitement (read: coordination of childcare and dog, grabbing of hospital bag, etc.) and the long afternoon / evening wait began.
The girls came to visit and were impressed with the IV, the contraction monitoring and all the rest. It was fun to have them see it all and be able to ask questions and get acclimated before the actual hard laboring started. It was not fun to be cut off from food for over 24 hours, but then the handsome photographer found the stash of popsicles and fetched them for me whenever I got hungry/ weepy/ stressed/ happy.
The evening meds had done their job and I was pretty uncomfortable as the sun was coming up and chasing away the heavy fog that had settled overnight. By mid-morning the incredible (and I mean incredible) anesthesiologist had administered the epidural, with Brandon by my side. I was comfortably ready for the girls to return for the rest of the labor party. Julia seemed especially nervous; when I asked her what she was worried about she said, "you."

My sister Emily, an ICU nurse and calm cucumber under pressure, came to be Brandon's back-up support should anything unexpected happen. Emily was there when Julia was born as well, and I am incredibly grateful. There is something reassuring about having your sister there when you give birth (especially a sister who knows about medical whatcha-ma-call-its).
The girls were very interested in the whole process, and our nurse (also very incredible, seriously the whole staff was a dream) answered all of their questions... no matter how obscure. Finally, at 3:10 the doctor came in, the audience went out (except Brandon and Emily) and at 3:19 Ms. Gwyneth Elizabeth Schultz entered the world fresh from Heaven. For the first few minutes she kept her eyes squeezed close tight, as though the new light of life was assaulting her eyes, which I guess it kind of was. Brandon was happy to have won the pool on her weight, Emily won the guess on the time she would be born, and I won because the baby was O-U-T!
As soon as the doctor gave the green light the girls were brought back for a quiet hour of family time... they were over the moon. Well, we all were.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thousand Hills - Lake Weekend

It's become a great summer tradition - a weekend away at the lake. This year was monumental because the girls both learned to water ski. There was a bit of drama as Julia tried...and tried... and tried to get up to no avail. Carolyn, on the other hand, popped right up on her second try and left Julia steaming mad at her sister's skills. She was determined that we were not leaving the lake until she could count herself a waterskier. So Brandon spent Father's Day morning in a chilly lake under an overcast sky, helping his determined daughter fulfill her water skiing destiny. At last she did, and we left sunburnt and satisfied.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drumroll please...

We had our sonogram, the long awaited moment when we finally got to see our wee one on the big screen (seriously they had a big screen at the doctor's office, things have sure improved since the girls were born!) Carolyn called out the sex before the sonogram technician even said it, clearly the iPad app is informative! We are over the moon to be welcoming our third princess to the Schultz castle. She is beautiful, though bashful, and only 20 weeks to go!

We had a few family members over for a balloon popping "gender" reveal in the driveway, it was just as the girls dreamed it would be - a big surprise and lots of hugs all around!