Alcott and High

a weekly story about Denver, life, and the things that interest us

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Author: Alcottandhigh (page 2 of 13)

The She-Cave

Marcos and I spent  a lot of time in our upstairs living room after Fitz arrived. We did shifts where one of us spent half the night with Fitz while the other slept in our room. Those times were tender and hard. The blue walls of this tiny room, felt to me, like they were caving in.  I was craving something fresh and new. This was five months ago and guess what? I still feel that way!  Only now the space has also become a makeshift office and my computer, along with a bowl of chocolate covered almonds, is usually on the floor. Along with lots of baby finger prints on the screen.

I am in the process of creating a space haven for Marcos and I. M has given me full range for what I can the she-cave.  I want the space to function as our tv room and office. I am thinking minimal design. White walls, modern art, tribal rug, some gold accents to warm up the space.

I love these modern abstract prints. This artist is from the UK and his prints are the greatest (not so secret anymore).


This sputnik flush mount is easier than a chandelier and affordable. The brass color will add warmth to the room and replace the oversized brown fan we currently have in the room.

This tribal rug I love. My friend has the same one in her house. Not sure If I should go with something more neutral as the space is small. Thoughts?

Winter Wish List

What things are you loving for winter? Here are my top three picks.

For winter date nights, special events and holiday portraits

 

For a mama to look instantly ready. Wear this eye,  lip and cheek stain in the Cheek to Cheek color.  I love the way these look and feel.  You can feel put together, even if you are just going to Trader Joe’s to buy some chocolate peppermint pretzels.

These JCREW socks are perfect for padding around the house, watching movies, and taking naps. 

Use code Thanku for 40% and FREE SHIPPING at J CREW! SCORE.  I just discovered this writing the post, it’s not sponsored.

Happy Holiday-ing!

 

 

Some new things

Well, we are in baby land over here, hence the long absence. We are learning a lot and want to share our adventures in new parenthood and pregnancy with you. In addition to travel, fashion, and all things for being thirtiesh woman in Denver, we are going to add some new parenthood tips, tricks, fails, etc… Stay tuned.  

The Birth of a Mother

I recently read this article The Birth of a Mother in The New York Times.  On the Eve of my first Mother’s Day the words of  psychiatrist Daniel Stern resonate with me. He explains  in his books “The Motherhood Constellation” and “The Birth of a Mother,” giving birth to a new identity can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby. 

The process of becoming a Mother is jarring and fast and all of a sudden, no matter how much you read and prepare, it’s game time. You go from being just a regular person to a Mama–which carries a huge weight that is paired with this idea of  perfection in our society.  It’s like starting a new job, totally unprepared, and being expected to excel without on the ground training.

I think most things with birth and baby toys and all the baby things  are focused on too much and used to occupy time headed towards the big  B-Day.  Sure, the color of the nursery and the perfect glider are fun to plan but what about spending time on how you might feel if the dream you have of Motherhood feels more like a nightmare?  Shouldn’t we seriously think about that— in a way that we don’t feel judged? Before we had Fitz Marcos and I talked about what we could do if we were feeling stressed and what friends we could reach out to.  This type of conversation was so helpful to have before our little man arrived.

The lack of attention on the Mothering part is largely skipped over.  Why don’t we spend time focusing on the mama, the mental health, the relationship with the partner? If I could give any advice to a Mama to be or New Mama, it would be to try and spend time with yourself and take care of your needs, and let people help you. Not before the baby arrives, but after, and always. Not because you need to prove that it’s okay to ask for help, but because it is necessary.

So this Mother’s Day I am feeling good.  My new identity as  a Mother is fitting well, it feels nautral. My Son has stolen my heart (and head!)  It’s another part of who I am, who I am becoming, not all of me. This Mother’s Day I want to give a shout out to all the mamas. A new identity is a process, and a gift, and while you are an amazing mama, you are also an amazing you.

Photos by Manzanita Photography

 

 

 

My Birth Story

7 weeks ago my husband posted an update on Facebook that read  ” So, after 40 hours of labor this little guy showed up in the operating room. Mom was amazing and is recovering well. He’s a voracious eater whose favorite foods are 1) milk, 2) fingers, 3) wrist. Pretty sure his name is Fitzgerald, aka Fitz.”

I just reread that post and the beautiful messages from friends and family that followed the birth of our baby boy. I just finished looking at all the images from my labor and c-section. I just told my full birth story to my friend, for the first time, yesterday. Before my birth maybe I had imagined posting pictures of us all smiling on the hospital bed or writing something sweet but I learned, with my birth, that birth will happen not always the way one plans, or wants, but the way it needs to.

My birth story started 7 weeks and two days ago. I went into the labor naturally, the day I was scheduled to be induced.  It was snowy outside and  Marcos timed contractions starting at 3 minutes, two minutes, then 90 seconds apart as we enjoyed walks, brunch, lunch, and labored at our favorite restaurant over dinner.

(Marcos timing my contractions at Dio Mio)

We texted family and friends with updates and were  giddy and nervous thinking our baby boy may come within a few hours…we didn’t plan on a few days.

We took a peaceful nap in our room and packed last minute items in our hospital bags. I still remember laying in our quiet bedroom and feeling close and cozy. We went to the hospital and ended up having to stay the night because it had been several hours since my water broke.

(Arriving at St. Joes)

I labored through the night and as the sun rose the next morning. We walked around the hospital, outside, and even home because we live ten minutes from the hospital. My Sister, close friend Gina, and Mom came in the afternoon. They took turns rubbing my back, walking with me, using essential oils, and breathing along with me. They said I was doing an amazing job, they added more Beyonce to my playlist, they laughed and cried with me.  We labored on.

I used Nitros gas, the robozo, a birthing ball. I dialated, but not enough. We used Citotec to get contractions started, then pitosin, then the jacuzzi tub and finally, after 36 hours, an epidural.

Marcos, was as close to an extension of myself as a partner could be. He held my hand as I squeezed his through painful contractions. He counted with me, he made me a hospital mix with “Cheery Music.” He got into the tub and held me as I moaned in pain.  He whispered over and over that he loved me and was so proud of me from the first hour and as we approached the end of my second day of labor. His words kept me breathing and hopeful.

At hour 43, our midwife held my hand, while Marcos held the other. She explained that while my contractions were strong the baby was showing signs of distress in the birth canal. I was not dilating and the risk of infection and further complications was increasing. The thing I wanted to avoid was a c-section and the next step, for a safe delivery, was a c-section.

The surgeon sat by my bed and with a bright and peppy voice listed off the risks that could occur during surgery, including the removal of my uterus or death and if yes, I was giving permission to go ahead…Sure. !

I remember I had to take off my gold earrings and give them to my Sister and also  that I was SO thirsty. As they wheeled me into the operating room I was shaking and Marcos held my shoulders still. I kept licking my lips and just wanting it to be over so I could drink a gatorade. They pinched me and asked ” Do you feel this Shannon?” I did. They said “Really?” Then they pinched further down… “Does this feel the same as this?” The two pinches felt the same. I felt the blade of the knife and it hurt. Eventually it numbed but it was more than a little pressure. I just kept staring up at Marcos.  Then, quiet.

The baby was having trouble breathing. They were about to take him to the NICU and then… he took a big breath of air and was breathing on his own. No NICU. I heard laughter and I saw relief in Marcos’s eyes as he brought me our baby.

Fitz had so much hair and they laid his body haphazardly on my chest while they finished stitching me up.  I was shaking and when they laid him on my chest I calmed.  His feet and lips looked exactly like Marcos. I remember the Dr. saying “Shannon, we are just putting your uterus back.” I didn’t love this real time update but was relieved it was over and the baby was actually here. I had started to doubt he would ever come out.

The sweetest moment was when they were wheeling us into recovery. My baby was nestled beside me and he confidently grabbed my fingers, like “we got this.”In that moment I felt like we did it together, and we were fine. I felt proud for bringing him here, and strong, and a huge cloud of relief surrounded me.

In the recovery room Marcos held our baby while I rested. We had both been up around 46 hours. I heard grunting and movement like Marcos was trying to wrestle a bull or something. The baby wanted to nurse and was trying to latch onto Marcos. Marcos brought the baby over and his little body melted onto me.  He was instantly quiet. Marcos kept saying “Wow, that is what you were looking for. ”  He was looking for his Mama… and he found her.

Your birth story is not one that you get to write ahead of time, I think some people go into it with that idea. The story unfolds the way it needs to. The process is where you find you are stronger than you ever imagined. The best part was the end, when I met, finally! my beautiful baby boy.

5 Holiday Outings in Denver!

We have been feeling pretty festive over here and I thought I would share five fun and easy holiday outings to do in Denver with family and friends this holiday season.

  1. Brown Palace Tea-At this point you will have to sign up for next year or call for cancellations because they fill up fast! This historic hotel makes you feel like you are living in Downton Abbey and warm and fuzzy inside.The Brown Palace also has a bar. You can skip the tea and just enjoy a cocktail and the holiday decor. If you cannot get tea reservations at the Brown Palace try Castle Marne. Its charming, lovely, and they offer a Christmas tea in a  mansion about five minutes away from the Brown Palace.Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset
  1. The Nutcracker:This past Sunday we took our Mom to see the Nutcracker.  It’s like taking a shot of holiday cheer–for some.
  2.  Rhein Haus  has chandeliers and fireplace imported from Austria. The Beer Hall has a huge fire place, festival garland, white lights, sausage and beer. Perfect place to get a seasonal cocktail and relax after shopping.

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  3. Go see classic Christmas movies like ELF, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone and Love Actually! The Alamo Draft House is having parties where you watch these classics with other fans. We went to the ELF Party and we ended up ringing bells, tossing snowballs, watching syrup and pasta competitions and quoting our favorite lines.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
  4. Blossoms of Light at the Botanic Gardens is beautiful. The garden is strung with light arrangements and its less of a scene and commitment than the zoo. You can get in and out in 30 minutes if you want and stroll around drinking hot cider as you admire the lights. I would recommend going on a weekday evening.

 

Sweaters for Hot Chocolate and Fireplaces

This winter, now that it’s finally feeling like winter in Denver, I am wearing a lot of leggings and sweaters over my baby bump. Here are some sweaters that feel like blankets but don’t make you look like someone that just rolls out of bed and wears a blanket (though, that’s okay too.)

JCREW- 40% WITH CODE MERRY

 

sweater

ASOS SWEATER-

sweater-white

EVERLANE CHUNKY GRAY SWEATER

everlane

Have A Festive Weekend!

This weekend is jam packed with brunches, lunches, dinner, Bach Breakdancing and The Nutcracker! The holiday buzz begins! I am looking forward to every moment.

 

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Letting Go

baby-bump

Last week we had a speaker in our prenatal group that said parenting is a continual process of letting go. He said “Moms, your baby will never be closer to you than he is right now” You are going to have to continually let go, and for that, I laude you.”

Carrying a baby is like putting all of your most important possessions, hopes, and dreams into a little package and swallowing it. It’s a huge responsibility emotionally and physically. It’s an exciting time of waiting and hoping. Then, when the baby comes, in a way he is not yours anymore, but in the world…not inside of you.  I wonder how that is going to feel. For now, I’m enjoying his kicks inside, feeling him grow, and the not letting go.

Photo by www.shannonmcqueenphotography.com

Babymoon

I love the idea of a Babymoon before the baby comes. Would you consider one? I love that it focuses on carving out time for just you and your partner before your baby comes to join.

Our Italy trip was an epic vacation for the two of us and I’m so glad we did it when I could still wear a bikini, tie my shoes, and put on pants, comfortably.  The trip wasn’t planned as a BabyMoon but it was fun bringing him along for the adventure about a week after we found out.

If you take a BabyMoon I would plan it during the first or second trimester. This way it’s still romantic, comfortable and easy to travel. By week 30 I was already feeling pretty uncomfortable on planes, cars, and in tight spaces. I am thinking about a little mountain overnight escape but when you are having constant contractions, its a bit nerve racking to take off to the hills, far from the hospital.

If I could blink my eyes and travel now it would be to Hotel Wailea in Wailea Hawaii. Where would you go? A Mountain escape? A Beach? Europe?

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