June 2017
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Kristian made me a coffee, with a side of Russell Stover chocolates.

(Lilian got a chocolate milk with a side of Frozen™ jelly beans.)

Lilian and I made a card for Kristian that said “We Whaley Love You,” but it somehow got misplace before we could give it to him.

In short, it was a lovely little day. Low pressure, low key, lovely.

The world might be going to hell in a hand-basket, but I’m glad that we all took some time today to say that we love each other.

The Women’s March (Boston Version)

On Saturday, LJ and I joined some our neighbors (and about 175,000 other people) at the Women’s March in Boston. To say that it was uplifting would be an understatement.

After the election, I felt hopeless and lost. It felt like we were about to step off of a cliff, and that some of the most vulnerable populations out there were going to get pushed off that cliff before us. I didn’t know what I could do, and (even from inside my coastal elite bubble) I felt totally alone.

The march was so incredibly positive. The MBTA was completely packed, but everyone was so kind to each other. We all made room for each other, helped each other with our kids, talked and laughed together. Boston Common was so packed, you could barely walk anywhere, but folks just made space where they could. There were a few mean-spirited signs, but most of what we saw was positive and hopeful.

The march is just a start. We can’t just pat ourselves on the back for showing up. But I know I wasn’t the only person in Boston on Saturday thinking to herself, “If we keep this up, we might really be able to make a difference.”

Things that I will be doing, in my own small part:

  • Focusing really hard on teaching my daughter about compassion and understanding. We’ve always emphasized the importance of being kind and of looking out for other people, but there is so much more that I can teach her, and so many amazing people out there that I can introduce her to.
  • The organizers of the women’s march have action items, and the first is sending postcards to your senators. We’re hosting a postcard making party at our house this weekend.
  • Sometimes the best way to be helpful is by utilizing your most valuable skills, even if they don’t feel as immediate as direct action. I’m going to be looking for opportunities to help progressive organizations out with their tech problems.

There’s a saying that it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. 175,000 candles is a pretty impressive display of light.

#LetLoveWin #BostonWomensMarch

A post shared by Hope Roth (@beerandpie) on

Auntie Skills

Geeetings from sunny Connecticut, where I’m helping my sister with my three-week-old niece. Which mostly consists of changing some diapers, making a lot of tea, and trying to get Snapchat to recognize that my niece really is a tiny human. 


God bless my husband for agreeing to hold down the fort while I’m here. Not only was he ok with me abandoning my own family for a whole week, he also prepped a bunch of slow cooker meals, and picked up some snacks at Costco. He knows better than anyone a) just how helpful it is to have people make food for you when you have an infant and 2) what a hopeless (pun possibly intended) cook I am. 

The two meals I put in the crockpot were delicious. He did a decent amount of prep work and gave me very explicit instructions. 

There’s not much to report from the week so far. It’s been lovely and cozy, and very non-eventful. I am sleeping better here than I do at home, which is kindof ironic. Something about the two closed doors between me and the baby, and a strategically placed mini-waterfall for white noise. 

Also,  no tiny humans have been jumping on my back at 5 in the morning. Which is definitely something that happened the night before I came down here. I would have like a million babies if I could snuggle with them during the day and then hand them off to someone else before getting 8 hours of sleep or so. 

There was a regrettable incident involving a box of gluten-free pancake mix and a vacuum cleaner without a filter, but other than that I think I’ve been a net gain in terms of household chores. At least, I’d like to hope that my taking cleanup duty after a particularly impressive poo explosion makes up for the fact that I have literally displaced my niece from her own nursery. 

Sorry if this post is dull, but life with a baby probably should be. 

Happy 2017!

Hey, so, uh, did you miss me? Because I kinda missed this blog. But I could never seem to make the time to write in it. Especially as the months went by and I would say “well, now it’s been so long… is this really what I want to write about for my first post after such a very long hiatus?”

But, hey, it’s a new year. Let’s turn over a new leaf. Except you know my leaves. My leaves usually involve a long apology for disappearing, followed by… a long disappearance. But, I can at least say hi.

Hi!

Life has been good. Busy, but good. Work is sumultaneously fulfilling and exhausting. Lilian is mostly a source of real joy, but also likes to push every single one of my buttons. I’ve been making a lot of craft projects, but not really sleeping enough. And I signed up to run a half marathon in June, because life was starting to feel slightly less complicated. Let’s just say that it’s a very good thing that I married a man who has the patience of a saint, and who knows I’m a lot less grumpy when I go on regular jogs and make things with my hands.

Kristian gave me a fancy new Cricut cutter (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, just google it) for Christmas and I’ve been like Bart Simpson and his label maker with his thing (you should probably go ahead and google that one as well). I was very pleased with the ironic sweatshirt that I made with it… until I came downstairs with it and Kristian asked me what I did to his favorite shirt. The moral of that particular story is that you should always doublecheck before ironing things onto a hand-me-down from your husband. Also, being good at eBay is a surprisingly useful skill.

Made myself a new hoodie #cricut #hipster #irony

A photo posted by Hope Roth (@beerandpie) on

Kristian got two brand new sweatshirts out of the whole deal. So I think he’ll forgive me… eventually.

We’re currently visiting my grandmother, which seems to have become our New Years tradition. It mostly involves Kristian cooking a steak and us all drinking wine, so it’s a pretty nice little tradition. Grandma stayed up until midnight this year, but Kristian and I were both in bed by about 10:30. Did I mention that we haven’t been sleeping enough? 

We gave my grandma an Amazon Echo for Christmas and it’s been wonderful to see how delighted she is with it. When I set it all up for her, she asked me if I could connect her Pandora account to it. How many grandmas do you know who have a Pandora account and an Echo? As I type this, I can hear her chatting away with it. I’m just so proud at how quickly she picked it all up. I wasn’t surprised, though. Grandma was a computer programmer back in the day. She’s a real technology badass.

Myself, I recently learned how Snapchat works from my four-year-old. So, I’ve got that going on for me right now.

Lilian’s Room: The After Photos

It’s been almost four years since we renovated our old guest room to turn it into a nursery, and I still haven’t documented the work that we did. Why must I document all of the work that we did? Is it because this is the Internet and we must document all of the work that we do, no matter how trivial? Is it because I needed an excuse to use the wide angle lens on my dSLR? Is it because the cleaners came today and I wanted to prove that we don’t always live in our own filth?

No.

It’s because this is what the room looked like when I was like a million months pregnant, heavily nesting, and trying to not lose my mind over the entire process:

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Somewhere out there, someone is frantically googling “Can my baby still get into Harvard if they spend the first month of their life sleeping in a cardboard box?” (Answer: yes. It’s called the entire population of Finland).

Welcome to my website, frantic googler. Everything is going to be fine. Have your partner make you a nice cup of chamomile tea, elevate those swollen feet of yours (I assume you are nesting, and therefore pregnant), and take a nice, deep breath. I think we finished our renovations on time (I honestly can’t remember, which just goes to show how unimportant this stuff is in the long run). Even then, our daughter spent the first few months of her life in a co-sleeper attached to our bed. Babies will sleep pretty much anywhere. Put them somewhere safe, and they’ll be fine.

Now I get to brag a little about how cute the room finally ended up.

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Note the distinct lack of construction debris. I really feel that it adds to the feng shui of a nursery when the closet is no longer crumbling into dust. That closet ripped my Dad’s hand open (twice!), but it’s now the nicest closet in the house. I should probably have opened up the closet doors for a picture, but there is a very nice Elfa system in there (thanks Uncle Andre and Auntie Michelle!).

(I am so totally jealous of that closet, even if the hanging rods are all sized for someone who is only a couple of feet tall).

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I think the room is a nice mix of classic and modern pieces. Or, as I like to put it, “stuff that people gave us for free, and stuff that we bought on-sale at Ikea.” The crib (now a toddler bed) is new (because: safety), but the other big pieces were in my sisters-in-law’s room when they were little. We didn’t have to do anything with the furniture except to give it a good scrubbing.

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The wall hangings were all made by my grandma, who is a truly talented quilter. I made the curtains, some of the cushions, and that butterfly mobile. It’s a little hard to tell, but there is a quilt stand in a corner that has a whole bunch of homemade blankets on it, including a blanket knitted by my great-grandmother. That rocking chair is a family heirloom that my grandparents had re-caned. There is a plush cthulhu doll sitting on it, because how awesome is it that someone gave Lilian a plush cthulhu?

I intentionally hung a lot of the pictures and other decorations low. I mean, it’s a room for a tiny person. She should be able to look at everything. My mom gave us a really lovely gift that I put right at Lilian-height: it’s a recipe for her grandmother Lillian’s snow pudding. Lil was the OG, even if we did accidentally change up the spelling. It’s a beautiful frame, but somehow it always ends up slightly askew. I kinda dig it though, because every time I go to straighten it out, I have a nice little moment thinking about family history.

(I’m not OCD. I can stop straightening picture frames any time I want. I just choose not to.)

I kinda wish that the rest of the house was as nice as this room. We’re (slowly, oh so slowly) getting there, but this is the first room that we really planned out in advance, and then saw it through to completion. It’s also the easiest to keep clean, even if it houses a tiny cyclone. Kids’ stuff was made to be purged when kids aren’t using it anymore, so there just hasn’t been that accumulation of crap that you don’t know what to do with. I’m sure that someday soon it will all be bursting at the seams with random plastic toys that she can’t bear to part with, but for now it’s nice to be able to do a quick sweep and put everything in its place.

I wish my closet was half as organized. I wish my closet had real walls!

So there you go, frantic googler. You can rip apart your nursery and patch it back together before your baby arrives. I don’t know that I would recommend it, per se, but it is technically possible. I would highly recommend taking advantage of every friend and family member that offers to help. We sure did, and it’s the only reason that it all got done. That crown molding didn’t hang itself. It took two very tall friends and a shorter friend to supervise.

I also wouldn’t recommend getting knocked up as a ploy to get your friends and family to help you with your house. But it was also a pretty effective technique. So is marrying a very handy man. Kristian did a lot of the work in this room himself.

I am really glad that I took before photos, and that I remembered to go back and take after photos as well. Because, after all this time, I am actually kindof in awe at the transformation.