Friday, April 29, 2011

Nursery furniture is up!

Side note before I begin: so I'm up early watching the royal wedding. I've always wanted to be a princess, so to see someone actually become a princess--how fabulous!

In between catching glimpses of Kate's dress right now, I'm going to update you on very important news in my mundane life: the furniture in the nursery is up! Jake did an excellent job putting the crib together. Thanks honey!

Jake and our puppy baby :-)
We'll be getting the mattress soon (thanks, Mom!), washing and putting away baby's clothes, and finish decorating. We also can't wait to see the quilt Jake's Mom is making for the nursery. Baby Girl will be surrounded by love and comfort :-) But the largest part is done--we have a nursery room! Yeah!

And a picture of this week...sorry, I was in my pj's already. But holy smokes--it's getting hard to wear my old t-shirts these days! Look at that belly pressing out!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holidays = food and family

When it comes to most holidays, I must admit: it's not the history I typically think of, or even the religious aspects of it. What I think of most are food and family. Doesn't matter which holiday it is, this is what it all boils down to for me. Unfortunately, living so far away from said family means that we don't get to see each other all the time on holidays (at least in person--there's always Skype!), so when we've had holidays out here in Pittsburgh, it thus boils down even further into "food."

This Easter was no different. I must admit that there was some acknowledgment on my part that this would be the last big holiday sans child so I better do all I can in the kitchen while I can without the interruption of pitter-pattering feet. Although truth be told, I'm totally psyched for holidays with children because children = crafts. Awesome!

But I digress. And so I did go all out with this scrumptious feast...

Maple glazed ham
Baked potato
Asparagus deglazed in wine with parmesan cheese and cracker topping
Butternut squash with butter and thyme

Corn muffins
Strawberry spinach salad with homemade poppy seed dressing

For dessert, I cheated. I bought an angel food cake and ice cream from Giant Eagle, but then I made my very own strawberry sauce. This hit the spot after we took Beau for an evening jaunt. So yummy!
This is what he does when I tell him to smile :-)

The other big news of the weekend is that we have finally transitioned the office downstairs (pics coming soon) and have spring cleaned the other bedroom, which means...(drum roll please)...we are ready to begin setting up the nursery! YEAH! Here's our first two decorating projects for the room that we completed just because we could.
Decals from the bedding set that we stuck on the ceiling fan.
Decals on the lamp.
Hopefully Baby Melbs likes the decor when she arrives. Otherwise, she'll just have to change it herself ;-)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

There's only one Earth. And I'm committed to keeping it as healthy as possible for my children and all future generation. Here's what I did on Earth Day to do my small part. I made things from old t-shirts and scrap fabric. It's recycling, reducing, and reusing all at the same time, plus loads of fun!

I had stumbled across this awesome tutorial for making tote bags from t-shirts. And it was as easy as pie. Or, since I don't think pie is that easy to make, let's go with "easy as cupcakes" instead.

First, lay your old shirt flat. Then cut off the arms, making sure to leave the seams. I made the mistake the first time of laying it flat and cutting straight across through two layers--and ended up cutting the seam off on one side. My advice: cut around the arm near the seam for a flawless look! Leaving the seams in help reinforce the bag's strength.

After you've cut both arms off, place a dinner place halfway down the top over the collar, trace, and cut out.

Then, flip the shirt inside out. Pin the bottom of the shirt together, and zig-zag stitch TWO times across the bottom directly on the seam that's already there.

I then added what the tutorial called "gussets" to give the bag some depth. I'm not really sure if I did it right. In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't. But whatever! I just zig-zagged an inch or so up the side of the bags at a right angle to the corner, and it seems to have worked!

I also worked on some nursing pads for when the baby comes and I start breastfeeding. They were made out of layers of fleece and soft denim (a favorite, very worn old pair of jeans). I just used my circular magnetic pin holder as the template.

And made a few bibs, too, while I was at it.

Let me just say that the aforementioned favorite old pair of jeans has been incorporated into 4 bibs, 10 nursing pads, and 3 velcro pouches for the diaper bag (you can see the "pocket pouches" made out of the back pockets in the back of the nursing pad photo). It's amazing how much I managed to get out of a single pair of jeans. Think about the possibilities for all sorts of other things!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dreamin' of Jamaica

I feel really selfish. I'm going to put that out there. Because I'm aware of how selfish this is going to sound.

I'm dreamin' of Jamaica. Both the night kind and the day kind. Jamaica is where Jake and I went for our luxury honeymoon at an all-inclusive resort. We splurged. We were treated like royalty. We had no worries or cares in the world outside of what the weather was going to be like (sunny and warm) and treating our sunburns (so worth it). We ate a lot, drank a lot, slept a lot (even in a hammock), and spent time together, just the two of us.

I'm sure you can probably guess where this is going. I'm not just dreaming about being in Jamaica, but everything that our time there stood for. I'm starting to have anxiety over wanting to retain this idyllic life as I know it's slipping further and further away with each passing day towards the arrival of Baby Melbs. I know that having children will bring about rewards (and challenges) far surpassing anything I can possibly imagine right now, but there's this part of me that wonders, "What are we giving up in the process? Will these rewards be enough to compensate for those losses? Is part of parenthood this inevitable turning point in life where one must give up in order to gain, or is it possible to have one's cake and eat it, too?" We keep saying how we can still go back to Jamaica, but it won't be the same. Nothing's really going to be the same once Baby Melbs arrives. And maybe that's okay...but i'ts a scary prospect nonetheless. It's not that I don't do well with change, but...I kind of don't. Especially if it's big. Like this.
26 weeks...whoa. It's hard for me to imagine my belly getting bigger.

And this.

And this.
Another one of Jake's artistic shots. And yes--I am sticking my tongue out at him :-)
And so there you have it. But because I'm the perpetual optimist, I know we'll get through it. I know we'll adjust. I know that I'll deal with this change just like every other I've dealt with, taking what I can from the experience and learning along the way.

But Jamaica sure is nice. And with that, I'm going to go snuggle with my husband some more :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

25 weeks...

25 weeks.

Baby Melbs is approximately the size of an eggplant. She is movin and a shakin--with quite a bit of regularity now.

And then the realization hit us--it's only 12 weeks from here on out until we're considered "full term." That's terrifying. So much to do! Hopefully the nursery will be assembled within the next two weeks, I can start washing items and putting them away, and we can really start the preparing because Baby Girl, you are going to be here before we know it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

If you're happy and you know it...

I'm clapping my hands. The last few days have brought about little things to be incredibly happy and grateful for.

1. We at dinner last night on our back porch. It was 80 degrees yesterday ad sunny. It was wonderful feeling the warmth on my back while we sat and enjoyed our first al fresco dining of the season.
Mmm...homemade chorizo and egg burritos with seasoned tator tots and milk. Delicious!

2. The warmth continued overnight, so much so that I woke up this morning and did my yoga on the back porch. Nothing like the sound of birdies (and the Monday garbage truck) to help wake you up and make you cheerful for the day.

3. Seeing my baby kick. That's right. Not just feeling her, but SEEING her. Last night she was particularly active as we were lying down for bed. Jake saw a movement and goes, "Was that a kick?" I said, "Yup." "That's so cool," he replied in amazement. And it is pretty amazing. I was watching her roll around earlier this evening, too. I'm sure this is only the beginning of many amazing things to happen this summer.

If you're happy and you know it...
He's just fakin'!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

24 weeks down...

I'm becoming a PRO at this whole "pregnancy" thing. Just kidding. Each day is full of new heartburn, a stuffy nose, random kinky hairs, and many other unmentionables. Let the good times roll :-)

Jake's artistic view of my belly :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sewing Storm

I've been in a bit of a sewing storm recently. Partly because I have a whole stash of fabric to use up, partly because I'm just itching to make things for Baby Melbs. Here are two recent projects. Both patterns are once again from Simple Sewing for Baby: 24 Easy Projects for Newborns to Toddlers by Lotta Jansdotter. Because I really think you should check out the book (and that little thing called copyright), I'm not going step by step. I'm just including a few pics of the process and finished project.

Soft Rattles
These were made out of old pajama pants of mine that were sooooo comfy, but the elastic had worn out. They were the softest flannel ever, and I couldn't bear to part with them. So here they are, become toys for my sweet baby girl. They have bells in them that jingle softly, too. Here's to hoping she likes them!

The cut-out pattern. I've already embroidered the eyes and am getting ready to seam it.
Finished product!

And her friend with green ears and yellow eyes and nose that made to go with her :-)

Changing Pad for Diaper Bag
*Caveat: this is my first time ever working with batting. It was interesting and definitely a learning experience. The great thing about it is that it's very forgiving, and the bad thing is it's very forgiving. It has a lot of flexibility in it! Also, I can't cut out a square piece of fabric for the life of me. I try my best, but it's never square! If anyone knows any tricks, please pass on!

My attempt at creating a "square" corner.
The outer fabric, batting, and lightweight cotton all set to go.
You can just barely see the quilting lines I've marked on here.
Here's my first ever attempt at quilting. Following the straight lines was really cathartic!
The velcro strap I made with two pieces of Velcro and grosgrain ribbon.
Starting to sew it all together...
Finished inside. What Baby Melbs will lay on. And yes, I'm aware that this is white. Not the best choice, but it's what I had lying around!
Ready to be folded...
Voila! Diaper changing pad complete. And it fits perfectly into my diaper bag :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cloth Diapering Orientation

Before I begin, let me just say this: never take your body for granted. After becoming so unaccustomed to caffeine, that half-caff latte from 4 pm is still keeping me up. Hence why I'm blogging at 11:45 at night. At this point last night I was a walking zombie. Sigh...

On a more exciting front, today Jake and I went to a cloth diapering (CD) orientation at a local CD store, Happy Baby Company. They specialize in CD, but also other "natural" baby products and styles, such as baby carriers/wearers, wooden toys, natural fiber clothing, etc.  I had been looking at this store's website for a long time as I've become more interested in possibly cloth diapering, and I was thrilled when my friend, Courtney, asked us to join her for the free orientation they had.

If you are as fortunate as us to have such a store nearby and you can take an orientation at, DO IT! Modern cloth diapers are nothing like the large white panels and pins of by gone days. You have prefolds, pockets, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, inserts, doublers, covers, fitted--and that doesn't even get to what materials each of these is made of: organic or conventional, hemp, cotton, wool, PUL, microfleece, etc. As you can imagine, the vocabulary associated with the CD world overwhelmed me beyond belief. That's why this orientation was so helpful as we got to see up close and personal the different kinds and brands of CD that are out there. Jake even tried putting a prefold on the baby doll they had there to demonstrate with, and I must say--he did a pretty great job! (if only I had had my camera!!)

We really want to use CD for many reasons. First and foremost is environmental. While we are increasing our water usage by using CD, we're not contributing the estimated 1 TON of waste that EACH CHILD contributes to landfills through disposables. Nor are we contributing material to landfills that takes 500 years to break down! There are also many unregulated chemicals that disposables use in them to increase absorbancy, some which are known carcinogens. Second is economical. For each child, you can spend upward of $2,000 on disposables before potty training. For CD, you can make an initial investment of around $700 for the first child--and then continue to reuse them on future children, sell them to other CD mamas, or give them away to friends. Third, they're adorable. There is a cuteness factor to them that is priceless!

Undeniably, our ability to exclusively use cloth diapers is largely contingent upon where we end up finding childcare. Many daycares have a "no cloth" policy, although we've heard that many folks are successful by bringing in the modern cloth diapers when they ask to show them how simple they really are! The pocket diapers, like this Fuzzibunz One Size,

and all-in-ones are put on and taken off exactly the same way as a disposable is, no extra care needed. They are then tossed into their own "wet bag" for the parent to grab at the end of the day. Why say no to something so simple? Here's to my optimistic side hoping I score on this one!

If, however, the daycare we decide on still says "no cloth," we've decided to do cloth at home anyway. We figure every little bit counts! And I'm not naive enough to say that we'll never use disposables. For long trips and such they're going to be the most convenient. 

CD is certainly not for everyone for a variety of reasons--convenience, lack of laundry facilities, the upfront out-of-pocket expenses, the fear of poop, etc. But we really feel that for our family and our values, and with what we're able to do, this is going to be our best option. I can't wait to increase our stash!!