Okay, so since I’ve shared our old house, I thought it might be nice to share our new house. But first, the obvious questions.
Why did we move? Parker got it in his head that he wanted to be closer to work. His commute from his job at Ponce City Market (which is so cool, ATLiens you must visit if you haven’t already) to our house in Decatur wasn’t very long, about 15 minutes with no traffic to 30 minutes (or slightly longer) in rush hour, but it was still too far for him. He wanted to be close enough to ride a bike or walk. Once he got this idea in his head, he was like a dog with a bone. Suddenly this idea we had agreed to think about “sometime next year” turned in to RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND. And I have to admit, once he was excited about it, I got excited about the prospect of being back in the city too. We loved Decatur but we both wanted a more walkable lifestyle and we both wanted to be closer to the pulse of the city. So when we found this place, such a unique home in a perfect location, it was an easy decision.
But what about Seattle? I don’t think I ever talked about it on the blog, but Parker’s company recently started a satellite office in Seattle and we made it clear a year ago that we wanted to relocate if possible, probably in a few years so we could save up enough money to buy a proper house out there (score +1 to Atlanta for being so much more affordable than most other cities). We started dreaming big! We got books on Seattle and made mental notes every time we heard anything related to the city….we started researching best neighborhoods and school districts. But then Parker wanted to be closer in Atlanta RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND and also around that time I stumbled upon this article that made me realize I am never ever moving there and maybe Atlanta isn’t so bad after all! :) And now that we have this house….I don’t think I could ever leave it. I love it so much. This feels like our family home that we will raise our children in and host lots of parties in, and decorate properly for all the holidays.
So what area is it in? We’re in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, which, fun fact: is where Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised. Our street backs right up to Freedom Park Trail and the Beltline, which are both fantastic ways to navigate through the city on foot or on bike. We strap Charlie in to the bike or stroller and go to any number of parks, restaurants, three different grocery stores, farmer’s markets and cool places just to take in the city. It’s exactly the lifestyle we dreamed of.
Okay, enough words – here are the pictures. Note though, that none of these furnishings are ours. These pictures are pulled off the MLS listing and we’re still settling in.
The rooftop decks (there’s actually another one on the back of the house) are a favorite feature of mine, but honestly the whole house is such a pleasure to live in. I love the open floor plan and how cooking in the kitchen seamlessly connects with the rest of the house. All the bedrooms are on the same level as the living/dining/kitchen area and the upstairs is just the loft area and decks. So it’s nice because it feels a lot like living in a ranch since there are no stairs to navigate between bedrooms and living space, but then there’s extra space to visit when you want to. My #1 request for a new house was usable outdoor space, so this was a big treat.
That’s all for now! We’re busy bees getting settled and planning projects. We’d like to build an island in the kitchen, some bookshelves in the living room, a fireplace and hearth, and countless other things to put our stamp on it, but we’re in no hurry whatsoever. We’ll be here a long time and it’s pretty close to perfect already. :)
So, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we moved. About a month ago. We moved out of this cute mid century ranch home! All the hard work we put in to it, all the money spent renovating, the lovely neighbors and quiet neighborhood – we left it all behind, are we crazy?! I loved this home and it was the perfect starter home for Parker and I, and then eventually Charlie too when he joined us.
Before I started packing, I decided I needed to finally take pictures of the house to document this time in our lives. I had planned to photograph as I went along with the renovation, but it turns out that I’m a terrible interiors photographer and my equipment is just not cut out for these small spaces so it’s challenging. Enough with the excuses though, I’m finally revealing every room in the house! Except for the basement, which was a complete wreck until we moved out and though I may be an oversharer on the internet, I’m much too self conscious to show THAT. And I also forgot to photograph the exterior, which we did a lot of work on. I’ll see if I can find a photo somewhere. Anyway, on with the tour! We rearranged furniture right before Charlie came, we used to have the sofa against the window for a more open feel. It just didn’t vibe right there though, and this configuration was the right balance. You’l notice the photos below are old, from when I originally shot my kitchen (I didn’t feel like doing it again) and the only real difference between then and now is the shelf I added to hold our glasses and coffee mugs. Yeah, I built and painted that while Parker was at work one day when I was 8 months and change pregnant. I was a nesting MACHINE. This kitchen surprisingly had a lot of storage. You wouldn’t think so, but it has more than my current kitchen now! Although I do get a pantry at the new house, so that’s a total win. This room used to be my office, but after Charlie came, we needed another bed option so Parker could get some sleep when Charlie was having rough nights. This sofa is like a futon that folds down in to a twin size bed and he slept here for like, five months. Not ideal, but we made it work! In our room, we had to remove our bed frame and just have the mattress on the floor once Charlie was crawling. We just didn’t feel comfortable having him in the bed with us otherwise (we cosleep). It proved to be a great decision because he loved climbing in and out of bed and turns out, we really liked being low to the ground too. The room is *tiny* and had no room for a dresser so we made do with those baskets in that credenza, and by KonMari-ing the sh*t out of our closets. I literally moved all of my clothing items – including seasonal, workout gear, sleepwear, and underwear – in one big bin. It’s hard to photograph such a small space, but this is the little Jack-and-Jill half bath between the bedrooms. It was a total mess before (I just realized I never showed before pictures – I have to do that, you gotta see it). It was all brown tile, a tiny medicine cabinet and an old rusted sink…and a wood toilet seat! For some reason that really grosses me out. We wiped the slate clean with new tile, paint, vanity, toilet, and giant medicine cabinet for storage. After doing all of that, the space didn’t feel nearly as cramped and unusable. And it gets great light too, so this is where I always put on my makeup. (Pssst – see Charlie sleeping above? :) This is Charlie’s room on the other side of the bath. If you remember his nursery tour, I changed things up a bit. When he started crawling, I decided to make it a Monterssori style bedroom for him to foster independence and encourage him to play by himself (and I was hoping, sleep by himself on his floor bed – no dice, that part didn’t work). I took down all of the regular-paged books and replaced them with board books he could go nuts with. I put toys in his book case, not too many so he wouldn’t get overwhelmed, and built a pull up bar to encourage his standing and pull up skills. He loved this room and so did I. It was a fun and cheery place. Here’s our hallway, nothing changed here from last time I shared this space. This is the other bathroom we renovated. We kept everything the same for consistency since the house is so small and we just wanted a bright and open feel for both tiny baths. This one again was in dire need of a makeover, and was a pleasure to use once we did.
So, that’s it. We lived in this home just a couple weeks shy of two years and made some great memories here. This was the house I brought Charlie home to from the hospital! This was our first grown up purchase together! We moved out first and then spent some time getting everything just right before putting it up on the market and we had a contract within a couple of days of it going live. I wasn’t sad until that moment, when I had to sign the contract and I started imagining another family living in this home that we made ours. It was so different when we bought it, and we made her real pretty. We made her ours. I love our new home (I’ll show that one ASAP!) but there are some sentimental memories in this sweet ranch for sure.
Hope you enjoyed! I sure enjoyed living here. :)
Oh and here is the before and after of the exterior. I had to pull the image off of google street view for the before.
Charlie turned one year old last Saturday. I can’t believe it’s been a year! And yet…it feels like he’s been here forever. We celebrated his birthday quietly, peacefully, thoughtfully with friends in a rented cabin in Ellijay, GA. It was the perfect fall weather, fall foliage, and friendly company to celebrate our boy. I reminisced about the day he was born and reflected a lot on that day. I really couldn’t think of a better way to spend the weekend. I didn’t want a big party, or stress to make things pinterest worthy or feel like I needed to make a big to-do for him since 1.) he’ll never remember it, and 2.) I think it would kind of freak him out to have that much attention on him.
Plus….first birthdays are really for the parents aren’t they? It’s not just his birthday – it’s also my birthing day. It’s not just the day he was born – it’s also the day I was born in a way. Reborn as a mother, shedding the skin of the old me, a younger, much less informed, and, let’s face it, a blissfully ignorant me; and the beginning of wearing this new skin that, no matter how much I prepared in pregnancy, still took time and effort to get used to. In the beginning it felt more like a clunky suit of armor that didn’t quite fit even though it’s cool as hell, but now it feels like that perfect pair of jeans that go with anything and only keep getting better as time goes on.
This year has been challenging for sure. I’ve seen my fair share of therapists to help with all sorts of mental health issues that popped up since becoming a mother. Postpartum depression, yes, but other stuff too. Things that having a child made me realize I need to confront, and heal from, so that I can be the very best version of myself for Charlie. He’s making me a better person and I’m working like hell to be the best for him (and Parker, and myself) that I can possibly be. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s a process and, as the story below serves to remind me, I’m stronger than I realize and will get there.
So all of this to say, my doula, McCalla, who I’ve mentioned before in my birth story, sent me her perspective of Charlie’s birth and I thought I would share it here. It meant so much to me to have this written record from her point of view and reading it made me feel so proud. Proud of what I did, proud of who I married, proud of how we work together, and proud that I trusted my gut and asked McCalla to be there for me when I had already hired another doula. She’s become a great friend through all of this and I’m so so happy the universe brought us together.
Charlie, Parker, and I woke up on his birthday and sat outside on the covered porch of the cabin while it drizzled around us, drinking pumpkin spice coffee as I read it aloud. It was the perfect gift and way to mark the occasion. Here it is:
My dearest Katy, Parker, and Charlie,
First, let me say that as a doula, I do not “write birth stories” for clients. Your birth story will always be yours exclusively, and each of your versions may vary. I believe a birth story is a living memory, or a living document, and as we continue to age and change so does our birth story. However, as a doula I am blessed with the gift of bearing witness to birth, and therefore I carry a version of your birth story in my mind and my heart. This letter serves as my attempt to share with you my gratitude for that gift.
Where to even begin? I love you all so much and think of you often. I have vivid memories of you in my mind. I remember the two of you, Parker and Katy, sitting in my birth class, Katy’s face rapt attention, Parker’s presence of quiet support. Really birth stories begin during pregnancy don’t they? And Katy you did everything right. :-) You took a class, you read all the books, you hired one doula, then when you felt more emotional support was needed you called and hired another (I feel so lucky you did)! You were going to do everything in your power to bring this baby into the world with love and intention, and so that is where the story begins, with such loving intention from you and Parker. What an amazing gift to give your perfect little boy.
One of the moments that still stands out in my mind is seeing a comment you made on the Atlanta Birth Center facebook page. It was after the class during which I had shown Melanie’s birth, which is a little more realistic because it is not edited. I don’t remember the exact comment, but ABC put up a status about watching birth videos or taking birth classes, and you commented something to the effect that you had been very confident, but seeing some videos in class was making you start to question your resolve. (Ed. Note: I was scared!) I was volunteering for the social media team, so I saw the comment, and I thought should I reply??? But I decided just to let it be a moment to process without feeling like your birth class teacher was virtually spying on you, ha! In retrospect the most interesting thing about this occurrence, is that this was the ONLY moment of vulnerability I saw in you. Every other moment you were and are a force to be reckoned with. (This is what the meme I made for emerge… should have said about your birth!)
Your due date was 10/15/2014, but at our prenatal you mentioned that one of the midwives said you looked like you were carrying low and you would be giving birth sooner rather than later. Sure enough at 5:20pm on Oct 9th you messaged me to tell me that labor had started very gently earlier that day around noon. On par with the rest of your pregnancy, you “did everything right” during early labor as well. You rested and watched TV and nested beautifully. Very few people can rest and relax into labor, but you did. You texted me again at 3:25am and I headed to your house.
This is the one part of your birth I regret. I was still fairly new to doulaing, you were my ninth doula client, and I knew you had hired a photographer so I didn’t take a single picture. You were the PERFECT picture of early labor during that time we spent at your house. I SO wish I had taken pictures. It is so clear in my mind. You are effortlessly walking around your perfect kitchen, pulling out ingredients for mini pumpkin loaves, occasionally stopping to lean over the counter and work through a contraction. I sat at the counter watching, being tricked by your ease into thinking that maybe we had more time than we did. You were the picture of grace and calm, who knew you were going to have a baby in a few hours?? In this way, your birth reminds me of the Mexican Birthing video I show in my birth classes, full of life and warmth and HOME. And truly, what is born at birth, home and family.
Speaking of family, I got to see the beautiful way in which you and Parker work together to create your safe haven. Again, as in class, Parker was quiet support. He was sitting in the corner, computer on his lap, just at the ready, waiting, confident in you. You both respect each others space and strengths and use your ability to work as a team effortlessly. This remained true even when things changed, Parker jumped up and was ready immediately. At the hospital he was calling people that needed to be called and occasionally connecting with you to show you his love and support in a quiet gentle way, but that was clearly received and heard and felt by you.
And things did change. After mini-pumpkins went in the oven and were done, you decided to lay down on the couch. We were talking about going to the chiropractic appointment and then maybe taking naps, because I incorrectly assumed your ease to be early labor. :-) But while we were on the couch, your water broke, and you ran to the bathroom to throw up. After this contractions were WAY more intense, it was as if your cervix had crossed the tipping point. These were signs I knew, and I also knew that all of them coming together like that meant we were WAY further along than I had suspected. I encouraged you to start vocalizing through contractions and that was all you needed. You were back in the game with so much focus and drive. Truly, you were remarkable. I remember leaning over the drivers seat, while you were stopped to cope with a contraction while getting into the car, and saying, “I am so proud of you, you are doing great.” Because my goodness you were and are doing SO GREAT. Birth, motherhood, you are just taking it by storm.
When we got to the hospital, they put you in a triage room and they started to tell you that you would have to be moved to get a tub, but you were NOT having it. I don’t remember your exact words but you were pretty clear about your intentions, and your strength and confidence was just pretty unbelievable. When Christine checked you and you were 9.5 and rocking it, I remember her asking you “what birth class did you take?” That was a bit of an ego boost, but honestly, it was all you, not all of my students are as commanding in labor as you were.
Christine affirmed that you were right and the nurses could stop suggesting that we move rooms. She had them set up the tub, and that provided you the much needed relief to get through this next level of labor. Again, you required very little support. You were in labor land at this point and put on a yoga play list on spotify that I still think is one of the best labor soundtracks I have heard. It just went perfectly with your vocalizations and set the tone for diving into labor. Chanda was taking pictures, Parker was telling you he loved you and holding your hand, I was wiping you down with cold water, and you were bringing sweet Charlie into the world.
After about an hour Christine indicated you were complete and asked you if you wanted some coached pushing. You didn’t respond and I kind of mentioned that you could start pushing if you wanted. She asked again and you said with confidence and strength, “No, because I don’t want to tear all the way to my asshole.” (Ed. note: HA!!! It’s true, I was terrified of that.) It is possibly my favorite thing anyone has ever said in labor. I anonymously share it with my students now because it is the perfect answer. You were in charge of your body, you were in charge of your birth. Christine and I both suppressed smiles of pride in watching a woman do that, take charge of her body. It is an awesome thing to witness, and one we do not often get to see done so perfectly unapologetically.
After about two hours of labor, you brought Charlie into the world. You alone pushed him out, and you alone picked him up out of the water. You caught your own baby, as you had hoped for when writing your birth plan. It was obvious you loved him immediately and you said as much. STRENGTH, EASE, GRACE. These things were your birth. Supported by the CONFIDENCE, and LOVE of Parker at all times. Charlie is a lucky boy. Because these things continue to support him. Parker’s constant consistent quiet presence and belief in your strength. Your strength as you navigate breastfeeding challenges, think of your babies education, and prioritize your mental health to continue to be strong for the lives that connect with yours to create the nest that nourishes all of you and builds your home. I love you all immensely, and feel lucky to call you all my friends.
Tears! Happy birthday, my sweet Charlie boy. I love you beyond measure.
I’ve been having so much fun with Charlie. My little sidekick. We have great adventures just the two of us during the day and then I delight watching his face beam with excitement when Parker comes home at the end of the day. It’s been a while since I posted, but I haven’t stopped my weekly photos. I am so blissfully present in these moments of motherhood that I don’t really take spare time to sit at the computer. I got a bike recently and I’ve been spending my evenings, after Charlie is in bed, out riding around my neighborhood. It’s been a great way to decompress at the end of each day, take some time for myself, breathe deeply in the fresh air, and have fun like I did when I was a kid. Summertime evenings have such a distinctness – the light is more golden, the air is thick and smells like grass, it’s still hot at 8pm. But riding a bike is the best way to make your own air conditioning. It’s been nice to have this new hobby.
What else is new? Charlie is 8 months now, crawling like a champ, has 6 teeth (4 that have been there for a while and two that just broke through the surface last week), and he’s really funny. He’s got a big personality, which makes me think he will have my sense of humor, but then he’s shy when he meets new people or we’re out in public which makes me think he’ll take after Parker. He’s still sleeping with us in our bed (which Parker finally moved back in to somewhere around 6 months when Charlie wasn’t waking up so much at night anymore). But recently, I re-strategized the nursery to make it a Montessori style bedroom which means I put everything down on his level. You can see a glimpse of it here. My intention is to gently foster independence so he feels confident and comfortable in his space and wants to spend time in there…and eventually sleep in there! Patience, patience, patience. We’re in no hurry, we like the cuddles.
Charlie is still nursing, but eating lots of food too. His first food was a strawberry (see second picture below) which coincided perfectly with the height of strawberry season so he got to taste the sweetest, juiciest berries right off the bat. He also immediately took to meat – all kinds. We are doing modified baby led weaning with him, which means he basically just eats what we eat. Sometimes I make or buy purees for him just to get him to eat veggies that are a little more difficult to get him to eat, and he also gets some oatmeal in the mornings for the iron. And I now keep snacks in my bag whenever we go out to eat because we have seen the consequences of trying to just wait until our food comes to feed him – it’s ugly. Squirmy, whiny, generally unpleasant. Now, however, I keep some freeze dried fruit or some Happy Creamies in my bag and let him munch while Parker and I have adult conversation.
Speaking of! We went on our first date night a couple weeks ago! It was a magical night. We wandered the Atlanta Botanical Garden for hours and went to a late dinner. It felt like the time before we had Charlie. So good to reconnect and feel like our younger, pre-baby selves again for a few hours. I was all heart eyes for him that night. :)
Anyway, here are weeks 15-26 (this year is HALF OVER! WHAT?!):
The extent of the crib’s use was, as you can see, a safe place to play while I got ready in the morning (I’m standing in the bathroom taking this photo).
First food: strawberries! It was love at first bite.
One of our Mother’s Day portraits that Parker took.
Our first trip with Charlie. We went to the beach at Port St. Joe with Parker’s family. It was nice, but I quickly realized a beach vacation with a baby is a totally different experience than as a childless twenty-something. It’s just mothering in a different location! Stil had fun though :)
Sometimes you gotta make your own air conditioning. It was so hot this day, I stripped Charlie down and let him feel the breeze on the swing. I think it was 86 degrees at 7pm when I took this.
Sitting on the front porch, waiting for Parker to get home. He can sit on my lap and entertain us both for a long time.
So, this is right around the time Charlie started crawling for real (he got up on all fours and had us thinking he was just about to crawl for weeks) and we decided we should store our bed frame in the basement and just put the mattress on the floor before anything bad happened. Since he still sleeps with us, he spends a lot of time in here and we just want him to be safe. As you can see, he was thrilled with the lower bed and immediately learned how to launch himself off of it and climb back on.
Pulling up all.the.time. This was when he first learned the couch was the ideal place to practice pulling up because it’s soft, his height, and he often has a captive audience right in front of him.
We’ve always used Honest diapers and just bought them from Target, but Target only goes up to size 5 and Big Booty DeBardelaben here moved in to a size 6 in June at 8 months old so we had to order them direct. This is the box they came in and as you can see, provided minutes of entertainment! Also worth noting: He’s gotten tan lines in his arm rolls this summer. *swoon*More standing! And showing off those top two teeth in this picture. He will stand at the sofa like this for 10-15 minutes at a time. And that chair in the background is his favorite cruiser. It scratches up my floor, but it’s sturdy and easy for him to lean on so he can practice walking. Ah, walking! It’s going to be here as soon as you know it.
I am the WORST. Chalk it up to new years resolutions that are so hard to keep, or a tired mama just focused on keeping up with a babe, or (most likely) a new forgetfulness that seems to be a permanent fixture for me these days, but here I am posting three weeks worth of shots on one day. No promises that this won’t be the last time, but I do so appreciate the subtle changes of watching my boy grow in the pictures, so I’m happy to continue. Even if it takes me a while to catch up.
Mid-giggle, showing off his two teeth. Such a ham. And his favorite toy as of late? That whisk. Provides literally MINUTES of entertainment. ;)