the quenzer den: dexter’s room

Now that we’ve been settled into the new house for a little over a year, I thought it would be fun to do a little house tour with a different room or two each week. I’m starting with Dexter’s room because it’s the most finished and easiest to clean. haha

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I saw this wall color here many moons ago and absolutely fell in love with it, so I knew I wanted it in Dex’s room! The color is Dark Pewter by Benjamin Moore and either looks charcoal grey, navy blue, or dark teal depending on the light. His room has the best natural light in the whole house, so I felt it was safe to try out a dark color. No regrets. 😉
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So many nights spent in this corner. So. Many. Nights. Also this chair is incredible but I cannot for the LIFE OF ME remember where we got it. Whoops.

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I intended on getting a cool moon phase garland to hang on the shelf but you can see that never happened.

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My brother got these decals for us last Christmas. They’re so perfect!

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My sweet friend Gretchen made this quilt for Dex and I love it so much. Cora has two quilts that she made and they’re well-loved! ❤

Here are the specs on his room:

Wall color :: Benjamin Moore “Dark Pewter”
Crib :: IKEA ($79.99 and it’s lasted through both kids…can I get an amen? We stained ours!)
Rug :: Overstock
Bookshelf :: IKEA
Dresser :: IKEA (it was the Tarva line, stained and painted by Mark, but they no longer make them.. boo)
Planet quilt :: Spearmint Love
Quilt :: Love Gretta

Hoping to get Cora’s room shared next week, if I can keep it semi-clean long enough to snap some photos. 😉

– amanda

feeling things

I always wished I had some kind of cool “I’ve loved photography my entire life!” story like every other photographer, but the truth is.. I just awkwardly stumbled into it. (I seem to awkwardly stumble into a lot of things in my life. Hello, my name is Amanda, and my whole life is one big awkward stumble.) The fact that it blossomed into a business that helped shape who I am was nothing short of a miracle, guys. I will say, however, that the first five years or so I absolutely LOVED it. I worked my ass off, but I truly enjoyed taking and editing photos.

After that five year mark, it somehow started feeling more like work and less like fun. I worked constantly and started to grow bitter. I stuck it through, but by year seven I was D-O-N-E. I stopped scouting new locations, I stopped trying new poses, I did the same editing on every photo, and I just genuinely stopped trying.

When we found out we were expecting Dexter I knew I wanted to quit photography and just be a mom for awhile. (Spoiler: being a mom is way harder. hahaha.) I even sold my camera because A) I was tired of looking at it, and B) I couldn’t be coerced by friends/family to take photos for them. (This still happens, by the way.)

For a solid year I was totally fine using just my iPhone for photos. They weren’t always perfect but I’m just photographing my kids, so it’s not like the quality of camera would erase the Koolaid stains off my kid’s face.

I had toyed with the idea of splurging on a Fujifilm X-T1 and after renting one and L-O-V-I-N-G it, Mark got me one for my birthday. (He’s a keeper.) I’ll honestly say I don’t pick it up every single day, but I do find myself having fun toying with settings again, and trying different ways of framing a shot. Editing is getting fun again, too. We’re taking baby steps.

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I have no intentions of starting a business anytime soon but that dream is coming back. It’s different this time, but I do still see photography in my future. For now we’re just slowly getting reacquainted.

– amanda

mom guilt

One of the things I promised myself upon turning 29 was dropping the guilt I feel when I take some time to myself. Is “mom guilt” a thing? Do you other moms feel it? Am I just batshit crazy?

I never want to leave Mark with both kids running rampant, so I always try to leave during one of their nap times and stress over making it back before they wake up. Like hauling ass through the grocery store picking things off shelves before I know Cora will be up. I have no idea why. Mark is fully capable of taking care of both kids and I trust him 100%, but I feel immensely guilty the entire time I’m gone. I leave to go to Starbucks to write up blog posts and literally can’t focus on writing because I’m terrified the shit will hit the fan while I’m away.

In grand retrospect, I think I worry this because it’s happened to me enough times. Mark would be at work or having lunch with a friend or something and everything in our house would go to hell. A few months ago there was a whole diarrhea / vomiting / fit-throwing escapade for a couple of hours that involved me and both kids and I still haven’t fully recovered from it. I did so many stressful bedtime routines while Mark was away for a job that I’m terrified to let him do the whole routine. (Even though now the kids are a breeze to put down for the night…at one point both kids screamed bloody murder during baths, Dexter had to be rocked to sleep while Cora screamed bloody murder some more in the hall, then she’d scream bloody murder after I put her in bed, and then Dexter would wake up screaming bloody murder riiiiight after Cora chilled out. Wouldn’t go back to those days for anything. Went on a tangent there, sorry not sorry.) Again, not because I don’t trust him. I just literally hate to put him through it.. Wait, is this what having a heart feels like?

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I know myself well enough to know that time away from the house and away from the kids is good for me. It sounds nuts, but I literally need it. After too long of being with anyone I legitimately go insane and I have to get away. My brain literally just replays the phrase “I need to leave, I need to leave, I need to leave..” I get short with the kids, I find stupid things to get mad at Mark about, I take everything personally, and I find myself missing the days when I lived alone. And even then…even when I know I have nothing left to give…I stay home and “mom”. Because I feel like there’s some part of me that has to, for whatever reason. Like it’s my job as a mom to be at everyone’s beck and call.

The times I do leave, for just a few hours, I come home a completely different person. I genuinely start to miss my kids after an hour. I’m ready to tackle chores without feeling salty about it, I’m ready to play with the kids, I’m ready to laugh with Mark, and I just mentally feel better. So why don’t I do it more often? “Mom guilt” remains the biggest mystery in motherhood for me.

– amanda

the year i disappeared.

I always had a small amount of anxiety over going places when we just had Cora, but I was typically able to overcome it since she was a fairly easy baby. After Dexter was born, that anxiety has built up slower and slower, grander and grander.

Something about getting two small kids out the door wears me thin. I’m telling myself it’ll get easier as they get older, but right now it fucking sucks. There’s packing the diaper bag, which is a feat in itself…diapers, wipes, snacks, formula, bottles, sippy cups, toys, “How long will we be gone?”, “How much/many of (insert random baby item) will we need?”. And then there’s the actual act of getting everyone out the door. Dex goes in his carseat, “Does he have a fresh diaper?”, don’t forget his blanket. Cora needs her blanket too but she’s also going to want to take every. single. stuffed. animal. she. owns. There will be a battle of wills. (Mom wins 8 out of 10 times.) She’ll take her precious time shuffling out the door as I stand there holding her brother in his carseat, which very likely weighs half as much as me. Load everyone up, buckle everyone in, pray you don’t hit too many red lights because Dexter hates when the car stops. Play lots of “Can’t Stop the Feelin’” by JT because that’s Cora’s jam.

And then there’s the unloading and releasing my minions out into the world, praying no one cries, no one poops, and nothing breaks.

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I’ve missed so many things this year outside the walls of our home. Family gatherings where I stressed too much about taking the kids out of town, so my mom took them and I stayed home and did some random task I had been putting off until I was kid-free. Birthday parties for friends and their kids because they’ve collided with nap times. Baby showers for people who attended OUR baby showers because again, nap times. My life revolves around not missing naps because I fear cranky babies. It’s absurd.

I’ve also noticed when we leave the house I come home feeling scatterbrained because there’s always SOMETHING in our house that needs to be done, so I walk in and think “I totally could have been cleaning up the kitchen the whole time we were gone.” Or something equally as ridiculous. As if the house would just crumble to shambles if I were to leave it for three hours.

And while we’re on the topic of “disappearing”, best of luck trying to contact me. You can call me, but I’m not going to call you back unless it’s REALLY important and even then you’re going to have to wait until both kids are napping, which is like…a solid half hour out of the entire day. You can text me and I’ll read it while doing dishes/laundry/insert chore here, but I’ll eventually forget about it and possibly respond a day or two later. When I get a moment to sit, to truly rest.. I mindlessly scroll Facebook. Occasionally I’ll post a photo on Instagram that I had taken hours before (almost everything I post is a #latergram). Basically anything that doesn’t require any significant thinking.

So for now, I’m MIA a lot of the time. I’m working on it. I’m haven’t touched anti-anxiety meds in yeeeaaaars but I’m feeling like I’m at the point where it’s time. I’m toying with the idea of seeing a therapist. (If any OKC friends have someone they love, please email me!) I’m a big advocate of normalizing mental health issues and feeling comfortable with getting help when it’s needed, and my gut is telling me I’m there. And that’s okay, because it’s not just about me anymore.

(Well if that isn’t the tagline for my walk through motherhood.)

– amanda