nursery full of bows

i was scared vayda would be a boy even after several confirmations she would be all girl. that may be why i started creating a gender neutral nursery. but just like everything else i planned for the baby during my pregnancy, things changed.

when i first found out i was pregnant, i went to target. isn’t that thing to do? i’m pretty sure they puff some scent into the store’s air that make maternal hormones rage, because my cart mysteriously fills to the brim (with things i probably don’t need) during every visit. elephants were popular for baby room decor at target during my pregnancy, and we happen to love elephants at the andrews house since we cheer for the crimson tide. cue everything elephant. i incorporated a little “where the wild things are” inspiration, too, with greys, light blues, yellows and burnt oranges.

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you’ll see that pink has inevitably made it’s way all over the nursery to compliment my initial color choices, but i fall more in love with the wild array of hues as time moves on. it’s a mix and match of all the people and experiences of vayda’s life thus far. her crib and dresser are from the baby’s dream enchanted collection. it will convert to toddler then double bed for lifetime usability. we got our set from brooks furniture (great local baby section) and are ever so thankful to robert, who included some great extras as a gift to my parents, who got V the set.

**rabbit trail for full disclosure here: unfortunately, vayda does not use her crib often as she still sleeps in a co-sleeper beside our bed. with a little reflux early on, she is most comfortable in her fisher price rock-n-play sleeper (and mommy likes her close by, too). during the day, she is constantly held, napping in my arms or being worn. [this article shares many –but not all– sentiments i do about baby wearing and my philosophy on holding vayda as much as possible: natural childshe will be using her crib and room more for naps soon, but we have found vayda to be more even-tempered and secure in her surroundings with our current methods.**

i opted for style on a budget for the rest of the nursery. all the nursery art was hand painted by me, which was a fun way to help make the anticipation speed along as pregnancy days grew longer. the area rug came from IKEA at a bargain, changing cover from etsy (with back-ups from target), floor length window panels from target – then i filled in with decor from hobby lobby, etsy, our new baby! (my favorite baby store – currently) and sweet gifts we got from family and friends. this includes a sweet toddler-sized bear rocker that was justin’s when he was little:

justin's bear rocker now in V's room
justin’s bear rocker now in V’s room

several sweet, very pink bears are keeping the seat warm for vayda when she gets old enough to sit in it.

along with those pink bears are many BOWS! my mama used to have me in outfits with matching bows. a proud moment for my mom was when my art teacher told her i was the best dressed child at deerfield in grade school. i guess that bow obsession seeped right into my own veins. i had to get creative with ways to display the many bows and headbands that mommy has gotten addicted to buying. seriously, people – it’s a problem. i never thought i would be one of those mamas who creates a bow child. but here’s the real situation:

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might as well face it, we’re addicted to bows. and i have totally embraced being that kind of mama. i got the cylindrical headband holder from etsy. many shops make these and there are many tutorials on how to make your own. it is so convenient when hurrying to dress an infant. plus, there is extra storage inside the cylinder – much needed at this house. the blue bow holder is handmade by me (along with the canvases). i also got two hanging ribbons at livi & company for our ever-growing alligator clip bows.

some of my favorite bow/headband/crown vendors: bloomies handmade (flower crown, pictured on V, lower left), tulip + olive, fancy free finery, gigi and max, cora baby wraps and mary madison boutique in thomasville (where i got these and more awesome bow clip-ons:)

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just wanted to share a little piece of erinish mama life. happy friday, all.

from violet beauregard to mama

it feels like i’m waking up to the world more every day that Baby V has been alive. that’s the only way i can describe it. i am blogging an update about V before our wedding. a little out of order, but that’s kind of like us, i suppose.

pregnancy felt like supernatural forces were battling for my body and brain for nine months. i envy those mamas clad in tennis shoes who lift weights and chomp on celery. not i. i was exhausted and overflowing with crazy-lady hormones from day one of V’s existence in my belly. i had intense all-day sickness my entire first trimester and threw up at least once a day for my entire pregnancy, including the morning she was born like clockwork.

i also learned that hormones create a different scenario for a pregnant lady plagued with anxiety. even when i felt i was holding back, my mood swings were WIDE open. bless my poor family, friends and coworkers who had to put up with me. then the third trimester brought on intense heartburn that kept me awake and sick all night. i slept sitting up for two months straight with a bottle of TUMs beside me.

i’m sure my awesome diet didn’t help my pregnancy. PB&Js for breakfast, chicken salad at lunch and TCBY after dinner…e-v-e-r-y day. yes, i gained 60+ pounds during my pregnancy. i won’t tell you how far i’m stretching the “+” in that last sentence, but all the extra weight made me feel like violet beauregard in willy wonka.

by the time my due date came and went, i was having mild contractions daily. no one could have conveyed to me the frustrating agony of wondering for hundreds of hours, “is this it?!” when my water broke as i was doing dishes that friday, i didn’t believe i was in labor. J had to convince me to go to the hospital around 4PM. surely enough, it was the real deal.

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i had a pretty open birth plan, and i didn’t set high expectations because of all the horror stories i had heard about how quickly things can change in an instant. i wanted to try to labor naturally as long as i could. i did. late friday night, i got an epidural which is where things went wrong. i’ve always had steady, and sometimes low, blood pressure – but it was very consistent during my pregnancy. right after the epidural, my blood pressure went to 60/30.

i guess i’m just so naive that i didn’t realize something was wrong with multiple nurses in the room, an oxygen mask on my face and a panic-stricken look on J’s face. V was in a moment of distress, and they were pumping as much epinephrine as allowed into my IV. my blood pressure never went back over 100/50 the rest of my labor, but surprisingly i had no other symptoms and V was fine too.

the epidural continued to give me issues. i had what the doctor described as a “very dense block,” as in the pain was being blocked well. that may sound just dandy in the way of contractions and childbirth, but i had very little feeling below my chest through the night. for this anxious gal, it was hard. my mama massaged my legs all night so i could have some sensation that my legs were still there – because i truly felt the paralysis might last forever. my awesome nurse Ashley was really innovative and into cool techniques, so i got to try laboring down and all kinds of positioning that i had hoped to experience.

after a couple of hours pushing, the doctor ordered the epidural to be turned off to ease up on the block. ever so quickly, i could feel everything. J and my mom were trying so hard to comfort me. my mama was even pushing and straining with me (the doctor had to remind her that wouldn’t help, haha). after some coaching and calming from the amazing Dr. Talley and some minor interventions, i heard my mom say, “she’s coming!”

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i worried i wouldn’t be immediately overcome with love and motherly instinct, but i can say that fear washed away quickly as my knowing of this child as mine was instantaneous. it has been growing rapidly ever since.

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i didn’t realize the shell of myself i had become until after vayda was born. again, it was like waking up out of a weird haze. but feeling more like my old “normal” self physically and emotionally both came and went as i began to accept that my self and my world were forever changed by V’s life. i have journaled since shortly after she was born trying to articulate the new and tremendous depth i feel. it isn’t only a depth of love – it is a deeper patience (most of the time) and a kinder care for things in the world i had grown cynical toward before.

i often think: how could i love her more than i do in this moment? and then i reflect to realize i love her far more strongly now than i did last time i asked myself that. i’m in complete awe of motherhood experience now. all the moms i know mean so much more to me now – especially my own wonderful, giving mom. i hope as my life goes on i will be the mom she has been to me.

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selfies

i came across this piece in my easel carry bag not long ago. poor self portrait, all unfinished. i started it my junior or senior year of high school in advanced art, and i always promised myself i would come back and complete it. we see how that went.

what a time in my life. i remember sitting at our art table with andy, haley, ashley, whitney and other friends and having nothing better to do than joke and doodle. i wish i had known then how hard it would be now to carve out time to be creative. i saw my art teacher not too long ago at mrs. kitchens’ funeral. the mother of my dear friends, lisa and emily, passed away after a long battle with cancer. mrs. kitchens was always a light. she was an eccentric, intelligent lady who taught me many things and raised two girls who were soft and inspiring influences in my life growing up.

i look back at this unfinished “selfie” and see that girl who sat unknowing at the art table – not knowing how lucky i was to have the relationships and the time to enjoy them. it’s fitting that the piece is unfinished, like so many of my works are. like i am today. i hope anyone reading this who looks back at the misguided, chaotic posts of my life will be inspired to enjoy the people around them in the moment they are in. there is nothing more important.

(c) erin whatley
(c) erin whatley

oh yeah,

i know i disappeared for half a year. i started talking about how I had a blog at work and then realized I haven’t posted since april, the month i: got a new job. i absolutely love it. i’m planning events AND managing marketing, which is essentially my dream job (after being an actress, but there’s always time for that later). i am working a lot of hours again like i did at my other event planning gig a couple of years ago, but i am really managing it well and i am working for such wonderful people. like, i can’t even explain how cool my bosses are. not like, i hope my bosses will one day read this and see how much of a kiss-up i am, but like i truly like and respect the people i work for and am learning a lot and enjoying it.

i feel so fortunate to have this opportunity. someone asked today how i am always smiling and nice (though i do get flustered sometimes!) with all the constant demands in the hospitality industry, and i got to thinking about what is motivating me. i think it is that i have gained another chance doing what i love at Stewbos & Merry Acres after coming out of a year of uncertainty after losing a job i loved so long ago. i have more confidence in my own gifts and abilities, and i am more eager to listen and learn in areas i am unfamiliar with. plus, my job is just plain fun and that is freeing and exciting in itself.

work is really my focus right now, and i am having a lot of fun with that, as nerdy as it sounds. i haven’t painted in about as long as it’s been since i’ve written, but i have really been craving it lately. hopefully i will do something new to post soon. justin and i are still dating. a year and a half next month, which is the longest relationship i have had. he is still entertaining and charming after all this time, so that must be a good sign. we both love our work about as much as we love each other, so we stay busy–but again, we love it that way!

that’s all for now!

thoughts at the end of the day

intelligence takes heart, while knowledge requires a mind. the mind, to me, is like a receptical. it takes in mounds of knowledge to retain for later transport, if needed. like a library of books that have been read many times, it is our collection of facts that have created the foundation of life. the heart, however, is that vessel designed for using knowledge from the brain. the heart is a living, moving, consistent being. it acts based on the knowledge collected from its brain. to have heart, or to be intelligent, one must be capable of bravely acting on their knowledge. hearts will lean toward good or bad endings. intelligence is frightening that way. our society is obsessed with that unattainable level of understanding. we are equally in awe of the mystifying creations of inventors and movement leaders, as well as the mass hysteria designed by terrorists to the shocking quips of internet trolls. i’m so constantly fascinated with this idea; that i have free will and i am blessed with a mind that will retain knowledge. and by simply being brave enough and motivated enough, i am capable of doing most anything my heart is willing to do and that mind is willing to learn about. to posess so much power to change things around me for good makes me want to live each moment more purposefully. thoughts at the end of the day.

fingerpainting

here is a mural i fingerpainted on my bedroom wall growing up. i’m so grateful that my parents supported my creativity and allowed me to paint all over their home. this piece really means a lot to me because i painted it over the course of several years. it doesn’t have a lot of intrinsic meaning, really, but each fragment of the piece came from some song lyric i enjoyed or a memory i enjoyed musing over. then my friends started adding to it with notes and drawings, and i never even had the opportunity to feel alone or unloved when i had my friends’ colorful stuff on my wall and my parents down the hall. it really means a lot to have a family who supports the arts. thanks, mom and dad.

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RAWR!

so, as i mentioned previously, i was at a panthers game when i was inspired to write about things to do in this lovely city of albany.

i got a little bit discouraged when i saw the empty seats around the civic center. justin, my boyfriend and a native of dothan, turned and said to me, “it’s so great that albany has something like this.” and it made me think. he’s so right. not all cities have an arena football team, and what fun it is to cheer on my city’s team! even though i haven’t the slightest clue about arena football rules. fun music is playing nonstop throughout the game while i sit amongst thousands of my closest friends.

then i noticed all of the kids that were spending their saturday night at the game. some of them were in the stands, some of them were cheerleaders and many of them were playing in the rockin’ panthers band. there are many other ways i could imagine spending a saturday night as a teenager, and i think it’s cool that albany’s teenagers get excited to be a part of something in which albany can be proud.

the alabama hammers ran us up and down the field, and even clueless joe over here was entertained by such an intense dramatic show. so, i want to spread the word. i don’t know if people haven’t heard about the panthers, or maybe they are unsure if the experience is worth the money or the trip. i’m here to say, this is yet another point of pride in this good life city. a championship winning arena football team is worth coming out to see, even if you are like me and don’t avidly follow football.

it’s worth it just to go watch all the hams around the stadium dancing to the intermittent musical breaks throughout the game. just don’t judge me for my sprinkler moves.

what to do?

i was contemplating a new theme to write about on the blog recently. my boyfriend is nearly perfect, so it’s hard to come up with relationship topics. i don’t feel cultured enough to discuss food or wine. no kids. hmm. i was sitting at the panthers game pretending to understand the rules of arena football as i continued to contemplate this. and there is was. right before me. sports writing.

just kidding. i thought about how i have lived in albany all of my life, and i really pride myself in being involved and knowing what’s going on in albany. at least in the crowd i hang out with. most days i like to imagine myself as the carrie bradshaw of albany. getting invited to the coolest things and wearing the most happening things. but let’s be honest, i’m just a small town girl who wears ridiculous colors and stuff. but i do love albany.

so, i have decided to include some things to do in albany, georgia on my site. in my completely biased and totally unprofessional way.

the blockbuster

on my street is actually closing. it’s like the end of an era.

i have years of memories searching through racks of movies and wafting in the glorious smell of videos and popcorn.

’tis a sad day.

turquoise & green

 

as i have previously mentioned, i worked in a ceramics studio through college. i got the opportunity to learn how to throw some simple things, and i hand painted them too. they are totally flawed, as far as balance–but that’s what makes them so fun and memorable. i will never be a potter, but learning the art and the difficulty of the trade made me appreciate the art that did come so easily to me.

i wrote a blog about the impact my pottery instructor had on my life. check it out here:
http://erinwhatley.com/2012/04/10/like-a-bull-in-a-china-shop/

brown ceramic bowls

as i have previously mentioned, i worked in a ceramics studio through college. i got the opportunity to learn how to throw some simple things, and i hand painted them too. they are totally flawed, as far as balance–but that’s what makes them so fun and memorable. i will never be a potter, but learning the art and the difficulty of the trade made me appreciate the art that did come so easily to me.

i wrote a blog about the impact my pottery instructor had on my life. check it out here:
http://erinwhatley.com/2012/04/10/like-a-bull-in-a-china-shop/