An Update, and New Things


 

It’s been forever since I’ve updated, I know.

But I haven’t been neglecting this site on purpose; in fact, I’ve been really thinking about my own personal growth, as well as the evolution of little space on the web that I’ve made into my home for the past four years.

When I first started this website, I wanted a place to chronicle my days as a First Time Mom. This space was an outlet for me when I was lonely, and yet never alone; and when I was simultaneously bored out of my mind and completely overwhelmed. Through this experience, I have been able to connect with so many like minded women, who just like I did, felt the weight of new motherhood difficult to bear.

Somewhere along the way, I found a new hobby – Calligraphy, and really began to fall in love with it. It gave me a mindful, artistic outlet that was separate from my obligations as Mom or Wife. It was just what I needed. And somehow, after a year or so, from this hobby of mine I was able to start a small side business. People trusted me to create for their important events, for their own small businesses, and also to teach them how to get started with lettering as well. I am incredibly lucky to be able to do something I love as a small business.

Which brings us here today:  My Baby Olive Juice started as a Mom Blog but slowly became a mash up of Calligraphy stuff and Mom Stuff. It was getting a little too messy, and the message was getting out of focus. I knew that it was about time that I started a dedicated page for my Calligraphy business, but to be honest, it just got lost in my long list of other “to-do”s

BUT WE ARE HERE TODAY AND AFTER ALL THIS RAMBLING WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IS…I did it. I started a new site, and new brand for my Calligraphy work. I’ve called it MBOJ Studio as an extension of the original name, and I can’t wait for you to see it. From now on, most of my calligraphy work will be over there, and my mom-ramblings will stay here. Which is great, because I still have so much more to say.

If I still have your attention after that extensive word vomit above, then thank you. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you still check in here once in a while to see what we’re up to, and if you ever have any calligraphy related inquires, you now know where to find me.

With all my love,

 

 

 

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Spring 2017 Calligraphy Classes Now Open!


Hey guys!

New pointed pen calligraphy classes are finally up on the site! I have one beginners class at The Assembly on April 22nd, and my very first Intermediate Class at Kit and Ace in Old Town Pasadena on May 28th!

Our beginners pointed pen class is perfect for those of you who have NEVER picked up a pen before. We’re building the foundation to a great calligraphy practice in this 3 hour session!

I’m super excited to offer this Intermediate class for those of you who’ve taken calligraphy before and are looking to push the envelope a little further! We’ll be doing ink mixing, some flourishing, and I’d love to go over some envelope layouts with you as well. I’m super stoked about this one, since I do so many envelopes for work, and still truly love them!

Sign ups are available in my store here! I hope to see you there!

 

Galentine’s Day Brunch!


I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is long over, but I wanted to share this cute project I worked on with a bunch of talented gals!

When Annette of A Vintage Splendor threw out the idea of hosting a boozy Galentine’s Brunch for a group of us girls, it was a no-brainer. You say yes.

With a gaggle of talented women on the list, it turned out beautiful – Annette hosted and made the cocktails, Leah of Freutcake brought the treats, Charmain of Emblem Flowers brought the blooms, I did the calligraphy and Sadaf of Sadaf Murad Photography documented it all.

I loved the mood that Annette wanted to go for – a hint of tropical romance. It was just perfect! I ended up making some monstera leaf cutouts (which I spent an evening painting with Dr Ph Martins Concentrated Watercolor – the best!) for place cards, and a large hand lettered leaf for the menu.

Isn’t Leah so cute!? 

Literally one of the prettiest little get togethers I’ve been to, hands down!

Can we do it again?

 

 

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New Year, New Happy


A couple of months ago, I posted about my struggle with Postpartum Depression. I just wanted to stop by here and say thank you to everyone who has reached out: you guys left messages, privately contacted me, and gave me so many words of encouragement. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Since the last time I posted, I have been extremely proactive in trying to make myself feel better.   I’m pretty certain that my PPD hit me hard because of my changing hormones and lack of sleep, so I really tried to see what I could do to work on those things, and I can happily report that I am feeling almost 500% better. Yeah, I still have some bad days, but they aren’t as gut wrenching or full of tears – and to be honest, I don’t really have too many of them anymore. And my good days? There are so many more awesome ones where I can look at my husband and kids and feel utter joy and fulfillment.

Q4 2016 Jody and Q1 2017 Jody are totally different people, and for that, I am so grateful.

In case anyone is curious, the things I’ve added to my life are:

Regular, Strenuous Exercise: Up until my last three weeks of pregnancy, I was a pretty active person. I worked out religiously twice a week and was on my feet with Olive all the time. Obviously, having a newborn really hinders your ability to work out. Be it the time your body takes to heal, to the “my newborn doesn’t sleep anywhere but on me” business – finding time to work out is hard. But if you’re able to carve out a little time to get your heart rate up, the endorphin release you get afterwards really helps lift your mood. I’m currently running with the Couch to 5K app, as well as strength training with my friend Dana McPherson of McPhersonFit. I’ve also recently started to do a beginners hip hop dance class with a few friends. (I am a much better dancer in my head than in real life, sad sad.) All in all, I’m probably working out 4-5 days in a week, and it’s made a huge difference.

Going to See a Therapist: I used to go to therapy once in a while before I was pregnant with Owen, just to check in on my mental wellbeing. However, I was having such an amazing pregnancy that I felt so happy all the time that I just…..stopped going. Making the decision to go back to therapy during this time was a good one – not only did she validate my suspicions (yes, Jody, you do have PPD) but she was able to give me some tools to cope with my stress. I still see her once a week even though I’m feeling better.

Upping my Supplements: Since giving birth to Owen, I’ve been so distracted that I was neglecting to take my pre-natal vitamins, so I was nutrient deficient because I wasn’t eating well. (I’m TIRED! Sleep > Food, any day!) Not only did I start to take my vitamins regularly again, but I also added an Omega 3 supplement which helps with the symptoms of PPD.

Sleep Training the Baby: The biggest game changer in the last few months was that we sleep trained Owen with Natalie Willes of Baby Sleep Trainer. This was something I did with Olive at around the same age, and it has made such a difference to both Owen’s moods, and our quality of life. I was spending 30-60 minutes rocking Owen every time he was going to sleep….only to have him only sleep for 10-30 minutes by himself. At that point he was 16lbs, and my body was hurting from doing that repetitive motion all day. I couldn’t get anything done; the house was a mess, my family was eating rubbish because I wasn’t cooking. Olive was trying to play with me and I couldn’t spend any time with her, because I was always rocking the baby to sleep, and he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else but on me. I felt like a failure in all aspects of my life, because I felt like I couldn’t please anyone. All my time was spent trying to get Owen to sleep. I knew that I had to sleep train, so I waited until he was old enough and cleared by the pediatrician. We proceeded to sleep train him over Christmas, and it took a total of about 3-5 days. It’s now been almost 1.5 months since Owen has learned how to fall asleep independently for naps and bedtime, and he also now sleeps through the night (7pm – 7am) every single day.  The biggest positive change that has come out of this are that not only is he getting enough rest (and therefore is a happier baby because of it), but so am I…. this means that I’m a better wife, a better mother, and a better friend. All the time I used to spend rocking Owen is now used for bonding with my daughter, or cooking meals, or writing a blog post. I’m now able to do all the things I needed to do to keep me and my home happy.

However, the most important aspect to me feeling better is that I have a supportive and understanding spouse. No, he doesn’t understand what I’m going through, and no, he’s not an emotional person. But he recognizes when I need help and offers it, and makes it possible for me to work out often by handling the kids. He’s always willing to listen when I need to, and he also knows that this is just a tougher time in our lives that we will soon move past, together.  I’m so grateful for him.

There is a lot that went into making myself feel better; and it wasn’t easy to do all at the same time. But from where I stand today, all that hard work is well worth the effort. I know it’s an ongoing effort, but I’m optimistic about the days to come.

I hope you’re all doing well!

PC: Top photo by Sadaf Murad Photography, bottom photo by John See Photography

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Newborn Photos by Sadaf Murad Photography


I know Owen is like 4 months old now (4 months and 1 week old, if anyone is counting) but I thought it’d be nice to share a few of the shots that my friend Sadaf of Sadaf Murad Photography took of Owen and I when he was a mere two weeks old.

Two weeks old. Wow.

It’s so weird to see photos of him so small and skinny again, when right now we are so lucky that he’s a gigantic 17lbs at 4 months old. (Did you hear that? That was the sound of my back breaking.)

Thank you Sadaf for coming over to our home to capture these. I’ll treasure them forever.

 

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Post Partum Depression Sucks


I know, it’s been radio silent here, but I promise it’s with good reason.

About a month ago, I realized that I was going through a little bout of post partum depression. I remember sitting in my glider in the middle of the night, nursing Owen at 3am and crying. I didn’t know why I was crying, but I knew that I was just so, so sad. I thought to myself, “I wonder if Owen is drinking in my sadness through my milk.” And the next thing I did was to research the signs of PPD.

The thing is, I never thought that what I felt could be classified as PPD. I didn’t feel awful everyday, and I was meeting my children’s needs, the household needs, and I wasn’t sobbing at every moment. I still find good jokes funny, and am able to crack a few of my own, as well. But I did realize that my anxiety level was much higher, and that I rarely felt…..happy. I was operating under a haze. While I was going through my everyday motions, I felt like I was just existing, but not living them. Every positive emotion felt duller, and every negative emotion was heightened. Sometimes, the desire to scream or cry was just right there, waiting to spill over all day.

To be honest, I feel like it happened overnight, and I believe the cause is a change in my hormones. I remember being really positive and happy for the first 2.5 months after Owen was born, but something changed in my body chemistry to make that positivity go away. I remember it coinciding with the start of my post partum hair loss, and also hormonal acne. About a week after that started, I began to feel a shift in my mood.

I think I held off from telling anyone or seeking help for a little while because I felt like a fraud, and I also felt extremely guilty. I thought that someone as fortunate as myself who has some childcare help, and a husband who is helpful and ever present meant that me being unhappy was because I was spoiled. I also felt that because I wasn’t having a bad day, everyday, that I was just being overdramatic: I couldn’t have PPD, I probably was just in a really bad mood.

But those bad moods and bad days just wouldn’t go away.

I’ve started to see a therapist and working out again because I want to get better, fast. I’m really sick of not being able to fully enjoy the beautiful family that I know that I have. I know that this is a temporary state, and I’ll bounce back when my hormones find a new normal, but I’m getting pretty impatient. The thing is, the household mood kind of revolves around “Mom”, doesn’t it?  If Mom is happy, the kids are happy, and dad is happy…..it’s all just… better.

I guess the reason why I’m writing this is because I wanted the new mamas out there to know that sometimes PPD isn’t what you thought it would be. Post Partum Depression doesn’t always mean that you can’t get out of bed, that you can’t smile, or care for your family. It doesn’t have to be that extreme. If you don’t feel right – talk about it. See if other people notice that you’ve been acting off. Read. Chat with other moms. Learn more about the way you’re feeling.

There really isn’t a great way to end this post other than to say this: You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. My husband always says this to me, and you know what, it’s true. So I’m going to start taking better care of myself, and mama, if you’re sad and reading this – I hope you will too.

 

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Double Trouble


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WELL HELLO, INTERNETS. IT’S BEEN A MINUTE.

Owen is now 3 months old, and my firstborn, Olive, is 4. Where does the time go, when you’re not sleeping?

It really hasn’t been easy, truth be told. Between the onset of cold/flu season and all of us getting sick multiple times since Owen was 2 weeks old, Olive having a few rough weeks where she was going through an (expected and normal) behavior regression, and general “getting used to the new chaos”….I don’t think I’ve really had a quiet moment to reflect on how I’ve been coping with this new state of my life. It’s always just go, go, go; putting out fires left and right, and taking every moment alone I have to sleep or eat.

I was also having a really hard time with Owen not sleeping for longer stretches until he was about 7-8 weeks old. Up until that point, he ate every 2 hours (every hour in the evening!) and only slept for a maximum of 2.5 hours at a go. It was especially bad during Week 6, when he had a combined growth spurt and Wonder Week smashed into a few days. Thankfully, he now usually sleeps anywhere between 4-9 hour stretches at night (I know, such a huge variation) so I’m a little less sleep deprived these days. He also now can go up to 3.5 hours between feeds, so I’m also a little less couch bound, as well.

Being alone with two kids has also been a learning curve. A few weeks ago, Patrick went on his first overnight business trip since we’ve had two kids. He was gone for 3 nights, which meant 3 double dinners, double bath times, and double bedtimes for me to do solo….and let me tell you, that was bonkers. Between getting Olive to and from school on time, an infant who doesn’t like naps, a preschooler who missed her dad, and all that crying …I was up to my eyeballs with stress. In those moments, I realized that I am everything to everyone. Everything depends on me; when my children cry (sometimes simultaneously), the weight of their need can feel too heavy to bear. In those moments I know I need to be grounded and calm, but instead I am frazzled and short. Which makes for unhappy kids, and an unhappier me. This is something I need to work on, and if anyone is giving out advice, I’m happy to hear it.

But, here we are, 3 months in as a family of four. And while all of the above is still incredibly overwhelming to me, it also has its many sweet moments. Watching Olive and Owen interact with each other is unlike any feeling I’ve ever had. The sleepless nights are easier to handle because I know it’s not going to last forever. I’m genuinely enjoying the baby stage more this time, rather than trying to make the baby fit into a set schedule right off the bat. And when I get the rare moments alone with Olive now, I really pay attention to everything she says and does, because I treasure these opportunities to bond alone.

It’s a hard time right now, it is. But i’m optimistic that it’ll get better soon. Like the old saying goes – “The days are long, but the years are short”; and that’s proven true with Olive. I’ll just take it one day at a time, with lots of breathing, and wine.

 

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Baby’s First Month: The Lifesavers


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As of yesterday, Owen is 7 weeks old! I can’t believe that we’ve come this far, and so quickly. I remember with Olive, time seemed to crawl by; but this time around, I feel like I can’t keep track of where the time is going.

We’ve had a couple of rough patches (particularly Week 6, which combined a Wonder Week, a growth spurt and what Weissbluth calls “The Peak Of Fussiness” ) – but I’m starting to see a light at the end of the newborn tunnel. Owen has started to give us his first social smiles; and a few night ago he slept his first long stretch! A couple of 4 and 5 hour stretches might not sound like a lot, but trust me, it really is!

I’ve put together a list of my First Month Favorites: a few things that have really made my life easier these past 7 weeks. Some of them I’ve used before with Olive, and others are new additions to my arsenal. None the less, i’m grateful to those who have recommended them, and hope you find them useful too!

Boppy Newborn Lounger: This pillow pod has been great for us to just plop Owen down on around the house. When they are that little, they’re really asleep most of the time, and you want them near you while you do other things around the home. We left this on our couch and were able to hang out with him while we folded laundry, played with Olive or watched TV – while having him at arms reach.

Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump: I never realized how much milk I was wasting until I used this device, which captures letdown milk (and a little more) from the non-nursing side. When your milk lets down, it obviously can’t just do so on just one side – so all that precious milk just gets absorbed into your nursing pad! It attaches by suction, so it’s mostly hands free. I’ve collected up to 4oz off one boob! A great time saver, and I’ve actually used my hospital pump a whole lot less this time around because of this little device. Genius. A video on how it works, here.

The Miracle Blanket: This intense looking swaddle blanket worked wonders with Olive, and has also been awesome for Owen. I’ve never, ever been able to figure out how nurses swaddle the babies so well in the hospital, so my  kids have always wiggled free, which means they often wake themselves up from sleep. The Miracle Blanket takes all that guesswork away, and keeps the baby swaddled all night. It takes a little getting used to (like all things) but soon you’ll be an expert at this, and won’t be able to live without it.

The Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow: This is also something I used with Olive, and loved it so much that I saved it for my 2nd child. It supports the baby so you’re not constantly grasping onto that 15lbs giant kid while trying to feed him, saving your wrists and arms. Also, it leaves my hand(s) free to do other things with Olive, like read her a story. I liked this pillow so much that I bought an inflatable one to keep in the car with me as well, in case I have to breastfeed on the go. Love this thing, can’t live without it.

Sakura Bloom Ring Sling: I knew that this time around I needed to baby wear Owen more than I did Olive, because I needed to keep my arms free to do things with my firstborn. I’ve tried a lot of carriers, and while each has their own benefits, I’m currently obsessed with the Sakura Bloom Ring Sling, which was introduced to me by my friend Melissa. Not only does it come in many, many luxurious fabrics and colors, but there is something about wearing Owen in a ring sling that makes me feel so close to him – kind of like an earth mama. My other favorites are the Ergo and the Solly Baby Wrap.

Onto Month 2! Wish us luck!

 

 

 

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One Month Down


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Holy cow we’ve made it a whole month.

Time really does fly by with your 2nd kid – I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because every waking moment is filled with “something to do” when you have two kids. When Owen is napping I try and make sure I’m bonding with Olive….or cleaning the house, or doing the laundry, or pumping, or cooking….there really isn’t a moment awake that I have for myself. (Other than this rare, rare moment I’ve found to write this post, which is a complete surprise today, yay.) There also really isn’t as much time to think about how mind numbingly exhausted you really are when you’re awake. There is just too much stuff to do.

The transition between 1 to 2 kids has been kinder to me than the transition between 0 to 1 kid. I think it’s because of a few things: Firstly, you aren’t so shellshocked at the your complete loss of independence. You’re already knee deep into the Mom Thing, so you know what you have to do, so you just bite down and do it. You aren’t lamenting about that party you’re missing, or that monthly spa day you’ve had to give up. You already went through that psychological stuff the first time around, so you’re set on that front. Secondly, when you’re in that tough newborn period where the baby nurses every 2 hours, your nipples are raw from use, the gassiness starts….you know that this is a short, temporary phase that will soon be replaced by smiles and giggles. All this lethargy and discomfort will pass, and it’s really such a short blip of time in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re a first time mom in the throes of Newborn-Anxiety-and-Disillusion….. and you’re sad, and frustrated, I promise you that it will get better, and very soon.

By the way, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t completely lost my shit yet; because I have. When Owen was about 2-3 weeks old, Olive caught this nasty cold from school. (OF COURSE SHE DID. #Life) She was pouring snot, and coughing everywhere, and had a fever. I was petrified of Owen getting sick as well, so I spent about 5 days intensely stressed out, disinfecting everything and breastfeeding Owen non stop to give him antibodies. Everything came to a head one night at about 10pm when Olive threw up in her bed because of all the coughing. She was screaming and crying, and Owen had gas at the same time and was also screaming his lungs off. In that moment, the combination of the two screaming kids, the illness, the stress and the lack of sleep just took over and I broke down crying. If Patrick wasn’t there to help me divide and conquer (he took care of Olive, and I took care of Owen), I’m not sure what I would have done. In that moment, I was truly lost. It sucked.

Hopefully, this juggle-two-sick-kids-while-dealing-with-vomit thing will be a rare occurrence – and the days (and my hands) will be filled with healthy kids instead.

By the way, it’s taken me a full THREE DAYS to write this one post. I’ve written it in bursts of rare spare time and energy, so if it seems scattered and disorganized, well – it’s because that’s the state of my brain these days, so you’re going to have to excuse me.

I hope to check in again soon, when I get a better sense of my bearings. I hope everyone is well!

GOODNIGHT!

With Love,

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Introducing Owen Che


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Meet our son, Owen Che – born on August 27th, 2016 at 11.27am in the morning, at 39 weeks.

So far, being a mom of two has been pretty awesome – yeah sure, there are the rough nights of no sleep; my breasts are getting used to breastfeeding again, and the recovery from this pregnancy isn’t the prettiest. But, I am so happy to report that 2nd Time Motherhood (is that a phrase that’s used?) does come around much easier than First Time Motherhood…. I’m more relaxed, my heart is more open and ready to love, and I know my own limits now, and know when I need to ask for help. Thankfully, my mom is also here to be with us for a month, so that has been a big help to ease us into life as a family of four.

Olive has been an amazing older sister already. She hasn’t acted out one bit, and has been super excited to involve her baby brother in everything she does. I have to be really honest when I tell you that I really miss her, and have (ugly) cried several times about the fact that she isn’t my only child anymore. I feel immense guilt, but it’s also coupled with intense joy because of the new addition to our family. She might not have any trouble sharing me at this point, but I am having a lot of feelings about having to split my time between two kids. I wish I could be everything, to everyone, all at once.

I hope to be able to update soon, and to share a little bit about my birth story this time around. Thank you everyone for your sweet well wishes, and for following my family on this journey.

With Love,
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