Tiny Beasts’ Tiny Lair

People have been asking for pictures of the nursery, and since Tiny Beast is down for a nap, I thought I’d post some pictures.  Much of the furniture and decorations are either things from my childhood, or from local artists, or handmade by me.  I wanted to go with a woodland theme, with a lot of critters and earth tones.  You’ll see that there is a Queen Anne buffet in the nursery; normally a crib would live in that spot, but since Izzy has to sleep in a harness on her belly, we moved the crib into our bedroom, since the bassinet won’t work for anything but supervised naps.  I’m really happy how it turned out-it’s warm, just sunny enough, and there’s a nice tree that attracts a lot of birds just outside. It’s been a great spot to pump and rock her when she’s fussy during the day.

This is where the crib normally lives. The banner is made of fabric and flowers, and spells out her name. It’s attached to willow reeds that hold little critters!

 The pictures are each of her ultrasound pictures, with space for one more picture of her now that she is here (gotta get on that!).

 We wanted to bring in family pictures-my great, great grandparents, Nick’s great and grandparents, my Mom and Dad are here too, along with a plate with written wishes from my baby showers.

 Along with the woodland theme, we incorporated Tom Clark Gnomes that my parents used to collect, along with fossilized wood my Dad and I collected and polished, and a tree stump jewelry box my Dad made when I was little.  For those of you who know me, I collect rocks, so I added a few of those in too. They are tucked around the nursery in little spots, just out of the reach of little hands.

Here is the corner-a butterfly print from Ikea (Nick calls me Mariposa, so I wanted to add that in). There are the curtains that I made (also with gnomes) and the butterfly mobile from my friend Liz. The pink blob in the corner is crystal cluster specimen collected by my Dad and I from a sulfur flat. Every year, we would go to this remote location and hop in, or stand on the edge of suflur pits, and break off these massive chunks of pink salt crystals.  We’d come home caked in salt, smelling of rotting eggs, with a few amazing specimens. While I don’t remember it being my favorite activity, looking back on it, it was a great time.

These pictures are from Justin Hargrove, an artist whose work I adore. It’s Disney meets Creepy, and I just love them!

Continuing with the woodland theme, we have more critters, another Hilgrove picture, and porcelain figures my parents picked up in England-these are also scattered around the nursery, like the rocks and the gnomes. The squirrel is oddly, a dog toy from my first dog as an adult, and the tree is drift wood from one of my first trips to the Washington coast. Pretty much everything has a story behind it here, and I am happy to have reused things I had laying around.

Most things in this picture are from my childhood as well-I can’t wait to share my love of books with Izzy as she grows. Right now, she seems to like “Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumb”.

We had to acknowledge our even nerdier side, adding in some Star Wars pieces here and there too. 
We decided to put the mobile on her changing table, since she sleeps on her belly. That was an awesome idea. She doesn’t cry when we change her, as she is too distracted by the tiny owl and hedgehog. We have been doing cloth diapering, and I LOVE the Gdiaper system-so easy.

The rocking chair was the one that my parents used with me, the old well-loved bear was given to my mom when my parents were dating, and then given to me. I chewed his nose off, and squeezed the stuffing into his legs. The antique quilt on the back of the chair has the letters of the alphabet and images sewn on. It’s just big enough to cover Izzy and I when she’s fussy. I had originally intended to use the footstool as a  footstool, but found that it makes the perfect end  table for books, snacks, my pump and anything else I need close by. I recovered with with wood grain patterned fabric. The curtains are from Ikea and were cute AND super cheap. What more do you need?

This lamp is a work in progress. Those circle glue dots don’t hold well, so I’ll be using my hot glue gun to finish this bad boy, you get the idea though.

Lastly, the rug-from Ikea-it’s super cute and just big enough.  It’s adorable, and works well with the rest of the items in Tiny Beasts nursery.

That’s the tour! Lots of love, cute recycled items, and a good sense of our past and family to share with Izzy.

What did you incorporate into your personal space/nurseries that make you smile?


The days are long, but the years are short.

An older gal told me this in passing the other week while at a doctors visit, mentioning that I should cherish these days, as they all fly by.

It’s so true already. Tiny Beast is just over a month, and the past few weeks are mostly a blur, and it feels like so long ago that we had her. It also feels like it’s gone by in a flash.  For those of you who are new to the blog, you can read more about Tiny Beast’s arrival here.

The days are spent pumping, bottle and tube feeding her every 3 hours, about a half gallon of breast milk a day. The other hours are spent snuggling her ever-growing body in beams of sunlight or under antique quilts, and journaling our adventures in my tiny notebook. I don’t do as many crafts as I used to, instead, the time is spent doting over and gazing at her tiny features.  After nearly a decade of wanting her and planning for her, I am still amazed that she is here.

Her weight is increasing so well, and she is eating more and more by bottle-usually more than half her total feed.  We continue to try breastfeeding, and she gets better with each attempt. Sometimes she just screams at my chest, which doesn’t do either of us much good. It’s all just for the closeness, and when that doesn’t work, we grab a bottle of milk and snuggle together instead. Her tests continue to come back strong, indicating that she won’t have any side effects from the fluid on her lungs, or the cleft pallet. We’re still so, so lucky. The doctors are amazed at her development, and excited to see what else she can accomplish-she’s hitting milestones ahead of time, which feels good after the challenges the first week brought. We have a great team at two hospitals who want to see her be as healthy as possible.

We have had amazing support in friends and family, between meals being delivered and house keeping/gardening help, we’ve been able to relax. The cards, and calls have all been so welcomed and I can’t say enough how amazed I am for the amount of love this kid has. Thank you all, so much!  I suck at asking for help, and am way better at saying ‘thank you’. I know it takes a village, and I am grateful for an amazing village.

We’re still cooking up a storm, which feels good. The food blog will be updated this week with my gumbo and pot pie recipes.  We’re also getting out more, seeing friends and having people over. The normalcy feels good.

Of course, it’s not all cuteness and happy times. Tiny Beast can yell. In addition to that skill, she can also poop up a storm. I had no clue of the sheer volume of poo and noises that something so small can produce.

This whole experience has really forced by to evaluate who I am, and how I live, and all my attempts at planning anything have gone out the window. She’s making me a better person every moment, and I am so grateful for that. Even at 2 am, when she starts wailing, when I just laid back down after pumping and tube feeding her for the past hour.

We’re still learning about what works and what doesn’t, and I know that will be an ongoing activity, but for now, her laughs and smiles are all the motivation I need.  I leave you with a quick picture from her birthday. She was not amused.

All my best to you all, as you find your way through chaotic times 🙂

On being home

Dorothy said, “there’s no place like home”.

So many times in the last 6 days I wished that I could click my heels together and come home. I wanted to be away from the alarms, the noise, and to allow Isabella to know that people don’t normally smell like hand sanitizer.  I wanted my bed, and to have her in her crib. I wanted to eat food that didn’t have mayonnaise as a main ingredient.

The idea that we would be going home soon was so exciting and really helped to get us through. At each feeding, I talked to Isabella about our adventure plans, and told her about all the things we had for her at home. It’s amazing how small things like that can help you block out the challenging things.

Sunday, it looked like we would be able to go home early in the week, provided she passed her hearing test, her CO2 test and her carseat test. We also needed to have all of her equipment ordered and we needed to learn nasalgastric tube feeding and placement (say that three times fast!).  Monday, first thing, we started banging out the tests. Blood was taken, equipment ordered, ng tube placement was done on the fly as my little beast pulled her tube out. Nick ran into our Specialist in the cafeteria, who let us know that she had passed her blood work-she looked good!  The feeding equipment came, and we were taught how to use it (we had been learning all week from the nursing staff, which sure helped). Audiology came out, and ran the needed tests-she aced 4 out of 4 of them. It was looking good!

It was time for the car seat challenge. 90 minutes in the car seat you brought with out any dips in oxygen saturation or vitals. She had to be able to breathe smoothly, and well…fit.  I’m pretty sure Nick and I held our breath for the first minute. Our eyes bounced between Izzy, the monitor and the clock.  Every time a stat dipped, so did our hope of getting out of there.  Finally, the 90 minutes were up. She had passed and we didn’t need one more piece of equipment.

Close to 6 pm, we realized that the last piece of equipment, the oxymeter, hadn’t been delivered. We couldn’t leave before it came. The nurse had already tried calling the care coordinators, but they had left at 4. I opted to call the company directly. They asked when were to be discharged, as they didn’t want to send before then and I kindly let them know it was a few hours prior, and could they please bring the equipment so we could just get home?  In my head, I wanted to reach through the phone and shake the holy hell out of the guy, but this wasn’t his fault. 🙂

The equipment was delivered shortly after, and we started to pack. At 11:30 pm, almost one week after heading to the hospital, we were given our walking papers and allowed to go home. Walking through the entry way into the cranial-facial section was the most exciting thing ever! As we got closer to the exit, I wanted to start running. I knew we were good to leave, I just didn’t want anyone changing their minds…Leaving felt so amazing. Things were going to be normal again!!! This is our holy crap, we’re tired, but getting the hell out of the hospital picture!

We woke my mom up when we got home (she had been watching the critters for us), and she was so excited. We all were. Next was the task of setting everything up, and plotting how to surprise Nick’s folks. We slept soundly on an air mattress in her nursery, so happy to be home.

The next day brought plotting to surprise Nick’s family, especially his Dad, whose birthday it was.  We had so many people to coordinate and getting the dog home, that we decided to let Nick’s mom organize it. She was great, making sure everyone knew just what to do!  We were able to surprise him, and Izzy got to meet her Great Grandma, too.

The week has gone by, some days longer than others.  This blog has taken me multiple days to write, mostly done when pumping, since I can’t go anywhere for 30 minutes, every two hours.

Izzy continues to amaze us-sometimes with how much she can cry-man does that kid have lungs!  But she also amazes us in how focused she is and snuggly.  She is already close to 9 lbs, and has grown an inch-all within her first week here.  She’s such a little trooper!

It feels good to be home and to know that for at least 11 weeks, all I have to is pump, rest, and do everything I can to make her happy.  There isn’t much more that I need in this life 🙂

Here’s to your happiness and always coming home.  Below the picture is a quote that fits us well 🙂

“Three is a magic number,
Yes it is, it’s a magic number.
Somewhere in the ancient, mystic trinity
You get three as a magic number.
The past and the present and the future.
Faith and Hope and Charity,
The heart and the brain and the body
Give you three as a magic number.  […]

A man and a woman had a little baby,
Yes, they did.
They had three in the family,
And that’s a magic number.”
~Schoolhouse Rock, ‘Three is a Magic Number’

Raina, Nick and Isabella