Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Facts about me

Today is my birthday! I turn... old. So, I thought I'd take this day as a chance to tell you 13 (3+10) random facts about me!

1. I'm a huge book nerd. Reading is my favorite pastime. I get very disoriented and sad if I have nothing good to read. My favorite books are the Harry Potters and my favorite author is L. M. Montgomery. I love fantasy and am sucker for self-help, kind of embarrassing to admit, but hey, these are the facts.

2. My daughter is named after a Lord of the Rings character (a HUGE book nerd), I just call her 'Kiddo' here to protect her privacy. I read the Lord of the Rings for the first time in middle school and decided on her name then. Luckily 15 years later, Jake agreed.

3. I can only sleep in absolute darkness. We have blinds and two sets of blackout curtains in the bedroom. And I also wear a sleep-mask. We actually have blackout curtains in every room of the house, even in the kitchen, so I'm not exposed to any light should I for example have to go to the bathroom at night. I still occasionally suffer from bouts of insomnia.

4. I'm an INFJ.

5. My favorite meal if the day is breakfast. I never skip breakfast and prefer no one to talk to me until I've had it. I almost always have toast and eggs. And two cups of coffee. I love, love, love coffee.

6. I have weird thumbs, like Megan Fox.

7. I can twist my tongue into a flower shape. It took me about two weeks to learn.

8. I can juggle a bit, it took a lot longer than two weeks. (Can you tell I spend my time wisely in uni?)

9. My biggest pet peeves are eating with your mouth open and chewing your nails. Just keep your lips together when you chew, it muffles the noise like 75%!* And I don't get how people can chew on their nails. You don't know what you have touched! You're basically chewing of other people's pee of your hands, and now I have to shake your drooly hands! At least wash them before and after. Its just not hygienic. (*statistic made up by me)

10. I must have something to do with my hands, hence crafting. It feels so odd to for example watch TV if I don't have something to do while I watch. I don't get how people can just sit there!

11. I was born with a hip dysplasia and spend my first months in a harness of sorts. Its fine now, although my left leg is a bit shorter than the right.

12. I started flossing after reading an interview with Amanda Bynes (of all people), where she said that her father is a dentist and he says that flossing is more important than brushing your teeth. It was like 10 years ago at least, and I've flossed twice a day ever since. And haven't had any cavities! Thanks Amanda Bynes!

13. I met my husband in World of Warcraft. Yup. I was lonely and miserable and depressed and WoW pretty much saved my life. I started playing, made friends and met a nice boy. Go play WoW, kids!

Those are the facts!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

September recap

I used to  to do these posts called 'this week' and I know a few people (possibly related to me...) at least enjoyed those. But I struggled on some weeks to think something to write about. But I thought maybe I could do a ‘this month’ post. I also used to post monthly reads and would like to again. And I've been thinking about posting monthly favorites. But that seems like a lot of end of the month posts. And then I realized, why not just combine it all to one post!

So here's a sort of compilation of some major events, favorites and books from the past month! This a bit rambly, and I have no photos of most of the things, I'll try to be more organized in the future!

I started the month sick, again. I swear I've been sick more since the Kiddo was born than in all the time before. It's ridiculous. I try my best to take care of myself, but I guess I should try harder. The Kiddo got it first, then I, then Jake. Altogether we spent half of the month sick. I saw a doctor, but all my blood-work came out fine. She just told me to get more Vitamin C, preferably from sea buckthorn, and eat as much fermented milk products as I could stomach, for probiotics. I got some frozen sea buckthorn berries and they taste horrible! But they have more vitamin C than an orange and you only have to eat a few a day. I've also been drinking piimä, which is a cultured milk drink, with every meal. I used to hate it as a kid, but it seems to have grown on me. Hopefully these will help me stay healthy.
On the health front, I also started to drink nettle tea. I'm definitely a coffee person, I very rarely drink tea. But being sick I really graved something hot to drink and I try to only drink two to three cups of coffee a day. So pulled out this nettle fennel tea I bought during the summer and been enjoying it very much.

I've also been dry brushing, all rather wet brushing. Dry brushing is something I've heard about for years, but the directions always said to brush your skin for like ten minutes before showering and who has time for that. But then I saw Jen from Pretty neat living on YouTube mention that she brushes in the shower for about 40 seconds and I thought 'now that sounds like something I can do'. I don't know if it has all the benefits of actual dry brushing, but better than nothing I guess. And it does feel great, especially brushing my back. The best feeling.
Two PlayStation games came out: Spider-Man and Tomb Raider and Jake was pretty much glued to the sofa. I even had a dream that I gave birth and he didn't notice.
It's been raining quite a bit and the Kiddo delights in every puddle. I can't blame her. And I let her. We were told to help ourselves to the neighbor's apple tree and everyday for a few weeks the Kiddo always insisted for an apple every time we went outside.
I actually can't really remember what I read this month as I neglected to write them down... I'll try to keep better track from now on. But let me tell you about this one book I can remember: Sapiens: a brief history of human kind by Yuval Noah Harari. It was so good. I'm going to recommend it to everyone I see. I kept going on and on about it to Jake. Go read it!
I decided to try to finish all started craft projects by the end of the year. I have a lot of projects in progress. I was inspired by Elise Joy, who posted on Instagram that she was going to do a shirt next spring, and I thought ‘ what, you mean I don’t have to get supplies and start a new project the minute it occurs to me?!’ It really was a revelation. I mean these aren't urgent things to do, but they are on the back of my mind constantly and they take up so much room (physical and mental). So, I wrote a massive list of all the various projects I have supplies for and the intention is to get them all crossed of by the end of 2018. All not completed will be thrown away or donated. I'm aiming for a completely clean slate for 2019 here and it feels so good! My never ending to do list will come to an end!
Projects I crossed of this month: the rya pillow, a knit hat, a cushion for the Kiddos rocking chair, a pin cushion for the sewing machine, a witch's hat for the Kiddo and an apron for the kiddo. I have several others ready to be sewn when the Kiddo is at her grandparents. I use nap time to prep things quietly and the dig out the sewing machine and sew up a storm when she is away.

I've also started going out for walks by myself to get some exercise. I mean, I do get out every day, but waddling after the Kiddo really isn't very rigorous. It's been amazing, and done me a lot of good, both the exercise and the alone time. I thought ‘why haven’t I done this in a long time?’ Then remembered the past summer was hell. That's why. But autumn is here and its again bearable to be outside.
I started waking a bit earlier than the Kiddo (that is at half five!) and the quiet when everyone else is still a sleep has been wonderful. Just what my introverted self really needs. I'm one of those people who is never bored or lonely when alone. Just having a few minutes by myself and having my coffee in peace (and hot!) really sets me up to endure the hullabaloo of the day. I can hear myself think for once! But it doesn't happen everyday, some days she wakes up before my alarm goes off. When it does its great.

Ashtanga yoga started again. I'm so out of shape with no upper body strength at all. But it did feel good to be out and doing something. The group is Swedish speaking and I even spoke a bit Swedish in the dressing room before the class. Not well, but I did it anyway.
And last but not least Jake bought me a cordless vacuum for an early birthday present. Not very romantic gift perhaps, but one I really wanted. We have a robot vacuum, which I love. You just turn it on, head out, and come home to a clean home. But it doesn't do a great job cleaning corners and behind furniture. This new vacuum has been awesome! It's always ready to go, its very light and easy to empty. The kitchen hasn't been this clean since the Kiddo started eating solids!

So that was September over here!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What to pack in your hospital bag

I love reading these kinds of posts (and packing lists in general), even if the real answer is: nothing. You can very easily (well, you know what I mean) have a baby and stay in the hospital without any of this. But having a few things can make it a lot more pleasant.

My list really is for what you need after the birth. For the the whole of actually giving birth I was constantly attended for, for example I could get all the food and drink I wanted. I know in some places you are not allowed to eat and/or drink, but I was. In fact, I kept being offered food, which I kept throwing up, but they were very concerned that I wouldn't have enough energy and in the end put me on some kind of fuel drip.

What to pack depends a lot on where you live. My hospital offered food, clothes (including underpants), pads, meds, baby clothes, diapers, flip-flops, towels... I encourage you to check what is provided. 

It also depends whether you want to use the stuff the hospital offers. A lot of people recommend using your own clothes, so as not to feel like a patient, but I was very sore and felt very much like a patient and really, really wanted to be taken care of. Also, there's all kinds of gross leakage. So, I just used the hospital clothes. I also used the hospital clothes for my baby.

I live in Finland so I didn't need things like an insurance card. I don't have one. I also didn't need any money. The meals were free and you could go raid the fridge at any time. I think giving birth cost us around 135€, including two nights at the hospital. I know it can be very different if you live somewhere without universal health care. But for me, all they asked was my social security number. Which I could not remember, I was in labor for goodness sake! Luckily Jake did. Maybe write it down.

A big water bottle or a big cup with a lid and a bendy straw. My hospital only had tiny glasses. I'd have died of thirst without my own cup. Maybe also have a pitcher that you can ask your partner to go and fill. You'll likely lie down a lot (since my episiotomy I could not sit for several weeks) so a bendy straw is great, when you are snuggled next to your baby and don't want to get up.
If you do not want yo use the hospital clothes, I'd recommend a few comfortable night gowns with snaps down the front for easy breastfeeding, slippers and a robe for shuffling down to the cafeteria.
Cosmetics. I really liked having all my usual shampoo and skincare etc. it made me feel a bit more like me. And it's not like you are flying by plane to give birth, there's no restriction on what you can bring. And let me tell you, the shower after having a baby is glorious.

Nipple cream. Your nipples will get SO SORE. I had to bite my teeth together to keep from screaming. The only thing that kept me sane and at it, was my friend (with four kids) promising me that the pain would subside in about a week and a half. It will. Meanwhile, apply cream. There was a lanolin one in my maternity package, so I used that.

Vitamins and medication. You want to take care of yourself so keep taking those prenatals. Vitamin c is also great.

Hairties. There's the cool top knot and then the mom top knot. Welcome to the latter group. The baby will rip off all your hair if you don't keep it away from their reach.
A swaddle for your baby. I didn't have this, and hospitals in Finland don't swaddle anymore. When we finally got one at home it made such a difference! Until we got the swaddle, she was pretty much glued to my boob. I tried several different ones, but our little Houdini wiggled out of every one. I love, love, love the Love to Sleep swaddle and used one in every size, until she learned to turn (then it's not safe anymore). It's the only swaddle that allows their hands near their face for self soothing.

Pacifier. If you plan on using one. Most hospitals in Finland are now pacifier free, to encourage breastfeeding, so if you want to give your baby a pacifier bring your own.

Phone. After I'd given birth Jake informed all our friends and family, but it wasn't until several hours later when Jake had gone home and the baby was a sleep that I was ready to chat with anyone, but boy, was I ready then.
A extension cord strip or a charger with a long cord. The baby will sleep, you will want to chat with people and take pictures etc. The outlet will be far away. In my hospital it was right next to my bed, but up on the wall, it was awkward. You want to be able to lie down and relax. And snuggle your baby.

Some light entertainment. Let's just say that from your attention span will be somewhat compromised. A magazine, a game on your phone, Pinterest, an episode of your favorite series and earbuds (for one ear)... something like that. You will mostly stop every minute to stare at your baby and nurses and roommates will be in and out of the room, so something you don't mind being constantly interrupted.
Going home outfit for you. I had reserved as my going home outfit my maternity leggings and that was a mistake. Since I had an episiotomy and about a dozen stitches I was SO, SO SORE. I could not bear the idea of squeezing myself into anything tight, and ended up wearing my husbands spare college pants I'd packed in case he could stay the night. I'd recommend a breastfeeding top (I found these much more comfortable than the nursing bras I had bought), a loose comfortable top appropriate for the weather on top of that and LOOSE pants.

Huge underpants. I mean huge. The kind that come up to your armpits. And get them several sizes larger than you'd normally wear. If you wear S, get XL. This is just for the first week or two, but trust me on this. And steal all the adult diapers you can from the hospital.
Don't bring all of this. It's just the only picture I had and I've already packed everything back into the storage. I'll talk more about my favorite baby items in the next baby post.
Going home outfit for the baby. DO NOT bring pants with separate socks and all kinds of itty-bitty pieces, if you've never dressed a baby before (waves). Bring the simplest outfit you can think of. Footie pants and a wrap onesie (with built in mittens, babies have claws like tiny raptors) or even better yet a footie pajama with a zipper, + a hat. Add weather appropriate extras. We bought our daughter home in a bear-suit with a hood (it was October).

So that's what I'd bring! I'd love to hear what you think and if you'd add something!
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