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Preview: Knotty . . . but Nice

Knotty . . . but Nice

Crafting a Family

Updated: 2014-10-14T04:02:51.394-04:00


Happy birthday


Today, our little peanut turned one. I've been remiss in posting here but I've had so much I've wanted to say. Someday I'll find time to type it all out. There's something so amazing about this first year--I feel truly fortunate to have witnessed all of these huge changes in our peanut. In some ways it seems like so long ago we were bringing this little (not so little) baby home from the birth center. When I look at pictures now, I hardly recognize that sleepy newborn. On the other hand, of course, the time has gone by so fast. Too fast. In those first few months, when we were blessed with so many offers of help, I took every opportunity I had to just sit with him. I held him while he napped and watched him sleep and I felt none of the anxiety around "getting stuff done" that I felt when our bean was a newborn. I knew there'd be time for dishes and laundry and cleaning up and I just wanted to soak up as much baby as I could.  Sadly, in recent months, there's been too much life going on for me to do as much "soaking" in as I'd like, of either the baby or the preschooler. And that's the thing, I guess. Our first year with the bean was this huge adjustment to being parents. And this year with the peanut has been a huge adjustment to being parents of TWO.  While mothering the peanut was easy in a lot of ways (because we KNEW how to care for a baby, we had some experience to fall back on), mothering two children has been uncharted territory. It's been a challenge. I honesty don't think I'm all that good at it. To give all of your love and, most importantly, attention to two people at once, who often want to be in two different locations doing two different things. Ugh. Hard. So while my story at our bean's first birthday was about our transformation into mothers, the story now is all about handing the baby back and forth--you hold him while I cut her waffle and then he's reaching for me so I'll take him back and nurse him. Yes, bean I'm watching you dance, but I need to change your brother's diaper, one minute, one minute--Such wonderful, happy chaos, but chaos nonetheless. And this boy. Oh, what an addition to our family. He's a joker, always laughing and playing tricks. Always with a smile on his face and so patient, so amazingly patient with his sister as she carries him around, grabs toys from his hands, and poses him like a doll. They love each other so much and it melts my mama heart to see them laughing and playing together. It's also broken my heart, to see how hard it's been for her to share the attention, for him to share it, for me to divide it.So this is it. Our last baby isn't a baby anymore. He crawls and climbs and doesn't much care about learning to walk. He has a shockingly large number of teeth and a ton of hair and is as big as a two year old. He loves bananas and hates riding in the car. I've had such an incredible time getting to know him this year. Happy birthday, baby boy, and many more. Many, many wonderful years more. [...]

Mother's Day


I'm not sure what happened, but I blinked and six months just flew by.  Our little peanut has gotten so big--he weighs as much as a one year old, has six(!) teeth, rolls both ways and is working on sitting up by himself.  I'm writing this while I snuggle his little sleeping body and look down at his peaceful baby face. His older sister is playing nearby and I'm struck by how amazing this motherhood journey has been so far. This is my fourth Mother's Day and I've learned so much in that short time.  Even though I felt prepared for motherhood, there was no easing into it. It was sink or swim as I, as we, struggled to keep our heads above water.  The only thing I know for sure with this second baby is that I still don't have all the answers, but this time around I'm OK with that. 

Soon this little guy won't want me to snuggle him. He'll be too busy, like his sister, to take time to sit with his moms. My days of holding a sleeping baby are numbered and soon we'll move on to different stages.   I'm trying so hard to savor these days; to forget my frustration over not having two hands free to do things around the house. I'm trying to remember all the silly and enlightening conversations I've had with my almost four(!) year old. I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity to help mother these two little beings, these beautiful, perfect babies who are growing too fast. I'm trying, trying, trying to learn how to be their mama and do the best job of it that I can. I am freaked out almost daily by the realization that I'm the grownup, I'm the one whose supposed to be responsible and have the answers. It's a serious job. Scary and fun and tiring and mind blowingly amazing all at once. It's been the best four years.  Happy Mother's Day to all the other women finding their way on this journey with me. 



Hoo boy, have we been busy with our two littes.  We've started to settle into life with our sweet peanut and we're all in love.

Have you seen a monthly picture with a sleeping babe?  Not on this blog you haven't.  But this boy actually likes to sleep.

He is such a happy, smiley (not so) little guy.  He loves to laugh and coo at everyone and loves to get attention from his big sister.  And oh she loves to snuggle him. 

Our peanut is growing and growing and interacting more and more with us and his environment.  On his two month birthday he rolled over from belly to back for the first time and did it twice more over the next couple days.  He's currently taking a break from that skill and hasn't repeated it once, even by accident.  Today, just a couple days shy of his four month birthday, he rolled from back to belly and got stuck that way.  Hopefully he'll relearn the belly roll and we'll have proper rolling going on (in both directions).

The peanut has also been getting better and better at holding things in his hands and has been putting everything in his mouth and drooling.  It looked an awful lot like teething but I didn't believe it because its too early for that.  So, of course, last week not one, but two bottom teeth pushed their way through his gumline.  That'll show me!

Last week was a big week for us because poor Mr. Peanut also got his first illness.  Bronchiolitis--the same virus our bean caught for her first illness.  Not my first choice but I guess I have no say in the matter.  We have tried very hard to keep the peanut healthy and, with an older child in school, I think we did pretty well to ward it off for almost four months.  Luckily, it seemed to be fairly mild and the Peanut is recovering well.  Hopefully we can make it through the rest of the flu season without too many more illnesses (for any of us!)

Peanut's birth story


I have no excuse for taking almost six weeks to type up this story, except that, you know, the newborn.  And the toddler.  They're taking up some time.  Anyway, here goes.I think I posted here that I had been having contractions on and off for a couple days before Peanut was born. I kept calling the midwives thinking I was getting ready, but the contractions would then stop.  Finally, Thursday evening I had bloody show and went to bed with contractions that were 6 mins apart.  I woke up at 11:30 still having them (every other night they had stopped when I slept) and they were a bit more uncomfortable.  I slept on and off all night and they kept coming, but they weren't getting closer together or more intense.  We decided to keep bean home from school Friday just in case and sent her to stay with our neighbor for the day.41 weeks We already had a nonstress test scheduled for 10am so we went to that--baby looked good and I was contracting away at 4cm.  They sent us home to rest and told us to call when contractions were 4 mins apart.  We went out for breakfast and then the boy decided to go next door to play with the bean while I napped on the couch.  At some point around 1pm I realized I was no longer sleeping through the contractions and was needing to focus when I had one.  I decided to take a shower and thank god I thought to text the boy before I did.  At this point I felt like something was different--I was having to really concentrate to get through the contractions and was keeping my eyes closed between them--really starting to focus inward.  The boy came home and asked how far apart they were, but I couldn't pay attention to timing them.  The boy timed a couple at 4mins and one at 3mins, so we headed back to the midwive's office.We arrived at 2pm and I still felt like we had a lot of time, so we were both shocked when the midwife checked me and I was 7-8cm.  We headed upstairs to the birth center and the boy started calling people to hurry and meet us there.  I got in the tub and labored there for about 1/2 hr.  The whole experience was so different from the bean--I was focusing to get through contractions but then just having normal conversations and joking between them.  I still felt like we would be there for hours.At some point when I was in the tub, things changed again and the pressure in my pelvis was too intense.  I got out and the midwife suggested I sit on the birth ball.  That really helped for about 4-5 contractions and then I started to feel pushy.  I had been telling everyone for 9mos that I did NOT want to push on my back but for some reason I turned to the boy and said, I'm gonna do it on my back!  I just felt like I didn't want to hold myself up anymore.  The boy argued with me and we never really settled the matter before a huge contraction hit that made me stand right up.With the next contraction, I leaned on the boy's shoulders and pushed.  I felt my membranes bulge and then my water burst all over the boy's feet.  I don't really know why but I got a little hysterical after that (although I laugh so hard now thinking back on the expression on the boy's face).  I remember the midwife telling me that everything was OK, that my water had just broken and I was saying I know, I know, but still kinda freaking out.I climbed up on the bed on my hands and knees, fully intending to flip over onto my back, but another contraction came and I had to push.  I heard the boy ask if the baby was crowning and the midwife said no, but before we knew it I had another contraction and I felt his head.  Another push and the head was out.  One more each for the shoulders and the body and peanut was born.  Six pushes and six minutes after my water broke!  Out of [...]



Baby boy peanut
10lbs 11.5oz 22.5in

Still here


(I wrote this 3 days ago but never got around to publishing it. Spoiler alert-the peanut arrived yesterday!! Details to come.)

I'm just over a week overdue and still waiting. We've been stepping up our efforts to get this boy out-evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, long walks, castor oil packs, and acupressure. Yesterday I had my first membrane sweep-I was 70% effaced and 3 cm dilated which felt encouraging. I went to sleep last night expecting to be in labor by morning but nada. I looked back at my notes from the bean's pregnancy and realized that I was at about the same dilation, although almost a week further along, when I had my first membrane sweep with the bean and went into labor that night. I know it must be soon. The contractions I've been having have become more frequent and more intense over the last few days and I keep thinking it must be any minute now.

This evening I'll have an acupuncture treatment and, if I'm still pregnant by Friday, a second non-stress test along with another membrane sweep.

I'm trying so hard to enjoy these last few moments of being pregnant (ever!), but its so hard when there's all this pressure to get him out before the deadline.

I'm also feeling so guilty about not being able to pick up the bean, or to even bend over to help her get her shoes on or reach something off the floor. I keep promising her that once the baby comes, I'll be able to do these things again, but then I think oh after I heal and then after I recover from all that sleep deprivation of having a newborn and oh yeah, when the baby isn't sleeping in my arms or nursing. I know it will be an adjustment but we'll figure all this stuff out eventually. I'm just already feeling badly that I may break some of these promises.

And I just can't end on that negative note because, oh my goodness are we all excited to have a new little baby in the house. To squeeze that little peanut and kiss baby toes and fingers and watch him sleep and yawn-yay! The bean has already professed her love for this little guy and has so many plans for what she plans to teach him and what they'll play together and how much she can't wait to help change diapers. Also, the upside to being so overdue? We are so ready! We are working through the things on the to do list that I thought we wouldn't have time to finish. So yay for that! (And please come soon, peanut!)

40 weeks


The peanut's due date was two days ago and it seems that, like his sister, he's going to make us wait. I remember with the bean how, over those two weeks between her due date and her birth, we became more and more desperate to get labor started and avoid an induction.  I am really trying this time to be calm and patient and trust that the peanut will come in his own good time, but of course every day feels like an eternity when you're waiting for an overdue baby.

I've been feeling for days (weeks?) that the peanut could come any day.  I've been having lots of "practice" contractions that sometimes become regular and painful and then fade away for a few hours.  Its led to a few false alarms for us!  Part of the anxiety, I'm sure, is the conventional wisdom that second babies come early.  We were half expecting this peanut to arrive before his due date, so we've been on edge for weeks already now.

And, of course, the whole "being patient and letting the peanut come in his own time" thing will likely only last a couple more days before we start all of the natural labor induction techniques that we can think of.  We have been cleared to birth at the birth center, but we are not allowed to birth there after 42 weeks, so there's some urgency here.  Of course, it will all work out one way or the other.  I can't wait to see what day the peanut chooses for his birthday!

Belly belly belly


I know I've been remiss in posting belly pics, so I'm here to overwhelm you with a large number of pictures of me.  I also wanted to share the few maternity clothes that I've made, so I'm combining that here.About maternity clothes--aren't they horrible?  I walked around for most of my pregnancy with the bean feeling frumpy in clothes that were way too big and unflattering.  I wanted to save money by buying clothes that would last me throughtout my pregnancy but they were all too big in my second trimester and you know what I've decided this time around?  There's nothing that looks flattering during the third trimester.  At least on me.  So this time around I bought just a few more fitted things that did not look like tents on me and sewed myself a couple things to fill in. I bought the pattern for this top after seeing some really cute maternity versions online.  I decided to make a nursing top as a test in a size larger than I would normally wear.This got me through the beginning of the second tri, but I'm also hoping the extra room will serve me well while I'm sporting some baby weight this winter.  These pictures are at 18 weeks.The pattern for this dress is from Handmade Beginnings and is covering a 27 week belly.  I added a ruffle at the bottom because the hem started to feel immodest as the belly grew.  This dress also has a nursing panel, but there's so much fabric gathered at the front that I'm not sure I'll wear it much postpartem without taking it completely apart and reworking the skirt, which probably won't happen if I'm being honest.I found this shirt on clearance and bought it a size bigger than I would normally wear. I just added a row of elastic under the bust and it was a super comfy top for the second trimester, but it didn't take long before my belly started peeking out of the bottom, as you can see in this shot from 29 weeks.And here's the maternity version of the nursing top I made.  This top is a whopping three sizes larger than I would normally wear plus I added a few extra inches on the sides and to the front length to accomodate a belly.  At first I thought it was too big, but I underestimated how big the belly could get, as you can see here at 32 weeks.And finally, nothing homemade, but this is my favorite maternity top today at 39 weeks.  I really can't imagine getting any bigger--baby boy, please come soon![...]

Third Birthday


Its been a few months since we celebrated the bean's third birthday, but I'm very excited to share some pictures from her party.We started the day bright and early making a new line on the bean's growth chart.She was so happy that she was three (feet tall) on her third birthday!Then off to the park, which has become a birthday location tradition.  The bean had requested an elmo theme, which you know I got a little carried away with. Here's the bean sampling all the food before the guests arrived.We couldn't find an elmo bounce house, so the bean chose a disney princess bouncer.  I wish we had been able to get a good picture of it--it was quite impressive to see all that pink in the middle of the elmo party!The kids spent most of their time in the bounce house, but we also had a craft, pin the nose on elmo, and the bean's aunt did some amazing face painting.The princess theme (sub theme?) didn't stop at the bounce house--the bean also wanted an ice cream cake with all the princesses on it.  How could we say no on her birthday?By her third birthday, I finally got around to making the birthday crown I've been planning forever.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Its a little big, but hopefully she'll grow into it!It was such a whirlwind day--we never did get a shot of the three of us together, but I really like this one of the boy and I.  Also, no bump shots all day.It wasn't until we were all getting ready for bed that we realized we hadn't taken our birthday sign picture, so we stepped out on our deck and tried to get a quick shot as the sun was going down. [...]

Peanut is . . .


a Boy!!!!

And, of course, more importantly he is growing and developing just as he should be.  He is measuring a week and a half ahead, but we aren't concerned (his sister took about six months to drop down onto the growth chart--apparently, I grow them big).

Its so hard not to compare things to my last pregnancy and so I keep counting months and remembering that at this stage last time, the boy and I were getting married, renovating a house, and moving.  Don't get me wrong, I have many projects planned for this summer, but I am moving so much more slowly this time around!  Of course, part of it is that nothing gets done quickly with a toddler around, but I'm also finding myself stopping to rest at a frequency I only remember from the last month of my first pregnancy.

Also?  Its HOT.  We are just a couple weeks away from the bean's birthday, which means I was walking around in a tent dress with the air conditioning on full blast, taking naps on the couch, and complaining loudly this time three years ago.  Its hard to imagine making it through two and half more months of summer as I keep getting bigger and bigger, but I have little choice in the matter.

I am carrying baby boy very, very low (because everything is stretched out?) which is interesting.  I feel many more kicks and movements now than I did with his sister, but they are all so very low.  His position seems to be contributing to the pain I'm feeling in my back and legs and also making it difficult to bend or reach forward.  All stuff I associate with later in pregnancy, so its odd to be experiencing it now in the middle of the second trimester.

Its also strange to me that there aren't a lot of preparations for us to make this time around.  I keep wanting to make lists of baby essentials, but we already have most everything I could list, since we purchased things for the bean with the idea of reusing them for a sibling.  We won't be taking any childbirth classes or hospital tours this time around, so I just have some fun knitting and sewing projects to tackle along with so much organizing around the house.  And maternity clothes.  I've been sewing a lot of my maternity clothes since finding cute clothes to buy is so difficult.  Stay tuned for pictures of those soon!

19 Weeks


Now that I'm solidly in my second trimester, things are finally starting to feel real. My biggest fear with having a second child was not how hard it would be to take care of two kids, but taking care of just one while experiencing the same morning sickness I had when I was pregnant with the bean. I was terrified of it, but mercifully it was not as bad. I definitely did feel sick and worn out, but I was able to work through it and the bean and I made it through. I kept obsessively checking my journal from when I was pregnant with the bean to see when the morning sickness got better. It was 16 weeks with the bean and a little bit earlier this time-probably 14 weeks.  Thank goodness we are through that part and I'm feeling better and getting my energy back.  There were a rough couple weeks in there were we were in pure survival mode, I imagine we'll be familiar with that mode again in a few short months!Now I'm in that middle part of pregnancy where you sometimes forget that you're pregnant until you catch yourself in the mirror. Well, also this time around I've been accidentally overdoing it and being reminded that I'm pregnant by my body which has insisted I take it easy.  When I was pregnant with the bean, I was working on my feet all day so I worried that I wouldn't be getting as much exercise this time.  Of course, I completely underestimated how physical taking care of a toddler is.Now that I'm able to feel this peanut moving around, it's starting to become more real. Honestly, it's been pretty difficult to imagine having a second child who is different from our first. I know that sounds strange, but I guess the only experience I have to base having a child on is the bean, so that's what I think of when I think of having another baby. I have to keep reminding myself that this child will have his or her own personality and likes and dislikes. It's amazing, but pretty hard to picture at this point.Because there were some concerns during my pregnancy with the bean, we had several ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy and were able to find out that she was a she at 16 weeks. This time, things look fine and we hopefully won't need those ultrasounds, so it's been a long time since we had a peek at this peanut. In just a couple days, we'll have our level II ultrasounds and get to check this little one out and check that everything looks OK.  (We'll also find out the gender).We've been taking belly pictures every week or so and I've been comparing them to the pictures from when I was pregnant with the bean. I know my belly is supposed to pop out sooner, but everything looks pretty similar up to this point. I've been waiting to post pictures here until there was something to show you!Here I am this time around at 6 weeks And 18 weeksAnd this is 19 weeks with the bean, pretty similar, right? [...]

Bean update


Now that our bean is on the verge of turning three, I'm finding parenting to be much more challenging.  Of course, this is the "terrible twos" cliche, and I think for me its mostly about trying to adjust to this ever changing little girl.  I know the first year of parenting, things change rapidly and it was tough, but we were able to adjust to give her what she needed, even as it was constantly changing.  Then, things settled down a bit and the changes started coming a bit further apart, and I think I've just stopped expecting them.Or perhaps I'm just expecting too much out of our bean.  Somedays she puts on her own shoes, cleans up her own toys and patiently stands still while I brush her teeth.  Other days, there's chaos and things being thrown at me and straight up refusal to do things that I know she's capable of and I'm just . . . confused.  Knowing that there are lines that need to be drawn but wondering where to draw them and wondering how much consistency there should be.  Yesterday, it was perfectly acceptable for me to cut her waffle for her, but today doing so results in screaming and crying.  Its hard to keep up.  As always, we are trying to make our way and figure this all out together.  Its a rollercoaster for sure.  Three years old is going to be exciting and maybe a bit scary, but hopefully it'll be really fun too.At this age, the bean still loves music and dancing.  Its interesting to me that this has seemed to be a constant throughout her short life so far--she's always been calmed my music and singing and started singing and dancing around herself as soon as she was able to.  She now attends a weekly music class that she loves and enjoys having impromptu dancing sessions in our living room.  She's also started making up her own songs about things that are happening around her.  Who knows if this will continue to be an interest of hers, but its so fun to watch it develop and to encourage it for now!The bean is starting to learn the days of the week and I've taught her that Saturday means "no work, no school and Mommy stays home all day!' which is so exciting for her.  My work days are typically at the end of the week, so Saturday is truly a day off for all of us and she gets so excited for the boy to be home, because that always means playing all day (sadly, there are a lot more chores to be done on the days that I stay home with her).A few months ago we finally gave in and got the bean her first haircut.  We were resisting the upkeep that comes with bangs, but finally decided that something needed to be done to keep all that hair out of her face and we now wish we had done it sooner.  I love the bangs!  (In these pictures, I see she's due for another trim--all that upkeep!)This update is so very random, but I'm trying to quickly get all these things down while I have a minute to blog.  Let's see . . . the bean is very excited about becoming a big sister.  I'm almost wishing we had waiting a bit longer to tell her because its so hard for her to wait.  We talk all the time about how she's going to help change the baby's diapers and hold it and feed it.  She's even told me that I'll get a turn holding the baby too--how lucky am I?[...]

Oh baby


I have been away from this space for such a long time. Its not that I haven't had much to say--I have so many things I've wanted to talk to you about, but what's been on my mind has been too painful to get out and that's babies. Specifically one more baby. For us. It has never been our intention for the bean to be an only child. Well, OK, there was that period of time immediately after the bean's birth when I turned to the boy and said that I was never going to do that again! But that faded. After a few months I started to think that maybe I could go through it all again. We had hoped for two children, two years apart, so we started trying again when the bean was 18 months old. Even then, I'm not sure either of us were quite ready, but we knew we'd have 9 months to get used to the idea. I got pregnant easily with the bean and I think we were both hoping that would be the case the second time. We were very superstitious about doing things the way we had with the bean--we inseminated at home, with no assistance from our doctor. This was the way we wanted it--just the two of us doing this thing together (and occasionally the bean waking up at inopportune moments). We soon learned that was not to be. I didn't get pregnant. Over and over again, it didn't work. I was still nursing the bean, so we started the long process of weaning. I still didn't get pregnant. Our supply of samples from our donor started dwindling and we asked for help. I tried to hold on to my idea of getting pregnant on an unmedicated cycle, but we soon decided that we would throw all the medical interventions we could at this problem. Triggered ovulation, timed inseminations, Clomid. Nothing. We were down to our last try before we would have to make the impossible decision of whether we would spend all our savings on an IVF cycle with no guarantee of a baby or spend all our savings on an adoption with no guarantee of a baby, or just give up. In my mind, I had already given up. Even before the bean was born, I spoke to myself and to the boy about our children. They. There had always been two. I started talking myself into the idea of the bean being an only child and looking for the positives in that. Our last cycle, we decided to try injectable drugs, which significantly increase the risk of multiples. We love multiples and if we had them, we would love the heck out of them, but we are also aware of the increased risks associated with a multiple birth. (Including the risk of losing your mind trying to take care of more than one newborn!) I had resisted injectables for that reason, but here we were, at the end of the road. So there I was, dutifully injecting my belly, sometimes multiple times a day, until I could no longer find a spot to inject in that wasn't bruised. I went to the doctor every couple days and had more blood drawn than I can keep track of. All the while, I had no hope. I don't think I ever mentioned this here, but when it became clear that the bean wasn't interested in weaning at 18 month, I decided I would nurse through pregnancy. I had gotten comfortable with this idea to the point of being disappointed when I ended up weaning. I always felt that I would regret weaning before the bean was ready, especially if it ended up that I couldn't get pregnant again. I felt this regret so deeply, and believed so fully that I wouldn't get pregnant, that I decided to start nursing again even before we found out the results of our injectables cycle. I was actually shocked that we were able to get back to nursing after having been weaned for several months, but I was also very pleased. Now, forgive me, but I have to tell this part of the story in even more excrutiating detail because I love it so much. I woke up 11 days after i[...]



A week or so ago, the bean was enjoying some halloween candy and lamented the fact that there was only one blue M&M in the package she was eating. Blue seems to be her favorite color now that she has learned to name colors (she was partial to green before then-I guess she liked the way the word sounded). Anyway, the boy explained to her that there's a store in the city where you can buy a bag of only blue M&Ms (or any other color, for that matter). She was interested, but didn't mention it again. We figured we'd take her after the sugar overload of the holidays was over.

The bean has been asking to go into the city to her Mommy's work, so the boy woke her up this morning and asked if she'd like to do that. Her response, of course, was to ask if she could also go to the M&M store. Because as much as we'd like to think otherwise, children just never forget a. single. thing.

So we went to the city and the bean got a bag of blue M&Ms. No pictures of that, unfortunately, but once we got home, to entertain her and also turn this into an educational lesson (since it certainly wasn't a nutritional one), I set her up sorting the colors from Mommy and Mama's bags.


A bag of multicolored M&Ms and a muffin tin was all it took to keep her entertained for an hour.


Sorting and mixing over and over again.


Why yes, I do let my 2 year old sit on the kitchen counter! Most days its the only way I can cook or do the dishes. Rest assured, I stay within arms reach and keep her away from the stove and knives. She's been sitting there long enough that she knows to stay away from the edge and to ask for help when she wants to get down.



Clearly, I'm finding it difficult to keep up with blogging lately. Life with a toddler moves at a much faster pace than I had anticipated and, on the rare occasion that I do find time to sit down with the computer, there are always fingers coming at the keyboard, wanting to "help." And so, even though I didn't manage to find time to post this yesterday, I'm very excited to share with you our halloween projects (a day late).Bats! From Country Living, via madeI covered some of our picture frames with cheesecloth and stuck little plastic spiders in them to make it a bit more spooky.The cute leaf garland is an idea I got from pinterest. I just cut the shapes out of some extra felt I had on hand and sewed some yarn through them. The little ghost is cut from window film (template via Martha).Finally, our mice that took over the stairs. (Template via Martha).I also tried to make the bean's school lunches festive the last couple days.Pumpkin sandwich (not the best carving job, but the bean was pleased)Spider crackers and ghost banana (this came back with only the chocolate chip eyes and the cheese slices eaten--fail)Mummy pizzaAnd finally, the bean in her costumeI hope you had a nice holiday![...]

Two Years



Our bean turned two today. We started off the day with pancakes fitting for a two year old.


We then headed to the beach, at the bean's request, to make sand castles, just like Olivia. Its been a little over a year since the bean's last trip to the beach, so it was like going for the first time. As we drove up, she asked over and over where the beach was and was thrilled to finally see it. She had a great time splashing in the waves and collecting shells.

We spent the afternoon at home playing with her present--a balance bike. The bean has been very interested in bikes lately (cutely calling them motorcycles and telling us she'd like to ride on a motorcycle), so we were excited to give her this present. She's just walked around with it so far and isn't comfortable sitting down just yet, but hopefully it won't take her long to get the hang of it.


Finally, the bean also received a mailbox built by her moms (well, mostly by the boy--I contributed the letter). As you can see, we ran out of time and didn't get it painted. We'll hopefully finish that up this weekend. The lack of paint did not get in the way of her enjoyment, though, she loved putting the letter in the slot and retrieving it over and over again.


Our big girl was able to blow out both candles on the first try! Since it was so much fun, she asked us to sing again and again so she could blow them out over and over.


Happy birthday, my little girl. I can't believe its been two years already!

First Egg Hunt


A photo essay (image) (image) (image) (image)

Bathroom. Done.


I've been wanting to post final bathroom pictures for a while now, but I wanted to wait until it was completely done and, well, we got it about 90% done and then stalled. We had a hard time finding a towel ring/TP holder set that we liked and since the bean only recently got over her obsession with habit of unrolling every roll of toilet paper she sees, we weren't in much of a hurry. So that explains why I'm finally wrapping up this project about 6 months after it was done.The last update I posted, we had just finished installing the toilet and "just" had the vanity to do. We debated right up until the last minute on whether we should put a vanity or pedestal sink in, assuming it wouldn't matter much to the other parts of our remodel. In the end, we decided on the pedestal, since a cabinet for the same price would be lower quality composite wood. We also think the pedestal makes the tiny room feel less cramped. I had read online that installing a pedestal sink was "graduate level DIY" which I sort of took as a challenge. How hard could it be, right?Well, first of all, we had to install bracing between our wall studs behind where the pedestal would sit. Now, when we removed the old vanity, the drywall was pretty damaged and required patches in a few places. We had already patched, mudded, sanded, primed and painted the wall to make it as pretty as it could be, but now we had to open 'er back up.I wish we had taken pictures of this step, we were both just so anxious to finally have a sink in that room (and frustrated to have to repeat work) that we forged ahead. It only took a couple hours to cut a section of drywall out between the studs, screw in a piece of 2x6 lumber, and patch the drywall back in. Then more of the long process of mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding, and painting (again!)If you haven't done this before, the base of the pedestal is screwed into the floor, while the sink is held up by long screws that go through the back of the sink and into those aforementioned 2x6's. I had read that getting everything to line up was difficult, but this process went fairly smoothly. (Of course, we were very careful to measure, mark, and measure again before we started.) The hard part was the plumbing. Oh, the plumbing!! It took weeks and weeks along with I don't remember how many trips to three different hardware stores to finally get the plumbing to line up. Thirty-five years ago, plumbing was made from a different material than it is today and the old sink drain was in a different position from the new one and, oh yeah, you can't really see behind that pedestal while you're installing all those tees and elbows. Ugh! What a headache! (Also? Plumbers putty? Totally a steep learning curve with that stuff. After getting all the plumbing to line up, we excitedly turned on the water and got a puddle on the floor.)But we finally figured it out. I L.O.V.E. this faucet. So much so that we special ordered the pedestal (with just one cutout) to go with it. Love.We still had one big hurdle to jump and that's this little guy.Why is this pipe sticking through our wall? We can't even figure out where it leads to, but it was hidden behind our old cabinet and needed to be hidden again. I took a stab at building a box to encase it, but when I was driving the nails into it, the whole thing sort of fell apart. I put the hammer away and went on strike for a few weeks. Then, the boy stepped in and worked some magic.Ahhh.Add the final touches we put on a couple weeks ago, and I'm calling it done.What did that before look like again?Oh right. And now:When we started this project, I don't[...]

Monkey Hat


A quick crochet project to break up all the knitting I've been doing.

(image) This is the monkey earflap hat crocheted with knitpicks swish worsted. I'm not much of a crocheter--I have to google every time to remember the difference between a single, double, half double crochet, I always forget--but this project came together quickly and was really fun to do.

I loved watching that pretty yellow flower form before my eyes. Isn't it funny how something you're not very good at can sort of seem like magic when it works?

I'm loving making things for the bean, the projects come together so quickly!

Best Gift Ever


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For those who don't speak toddler--she's singing "happy birthday to you, mama and mommy."

The return of sleep


My friends, night weaning is something that's been on my mind for a while. It all started when the bean was around 6 months old and I read that most 6 month olds slept through the night. I waited and waited for that to happen, but we were nowhere close. Since then, I've read several books and tried a slew of tricks to get the bean to sleep longer stretches at night, but we've only had minimal success.

I've known for a while that we would have to wean at night if I was going to start getting uninterrupted sleep and I was starting to feel like 18 months was a perfect age to be night weaned, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing it. To be honest, I didn't actually set out to night wean last month, but something strange happened to the bean's latch during the night that made nursing very painful. I guess it was the combination of all those teeth along with her being half asleep, but whatever the cause, it was enough for me to not want to nurse at all. I tried over the course of a couple nights allowing her to nurse for a few minutes at each wake up and then comforting her as best I could back to sleep, but it almost seemed to make matters worse. I finally decided we would nurse to sleep at bedtime and upon waking in the morning, but no more nursing during the night. The bean and I have had many conversations to this effect over the past few months, so it probably wasn't much of a shock to her.

It was definitely rough going there the first couple nights. The bean would wake up and ask to nurse, I would remind her that we don't nurse at night any more and she would completely lose it. The boy and I tried everything we could think of to comfort her and get her to fall back asleep, but there were definitely a lot of tears at first. We ended up losing even more sleep through this process, but the end was so worth it. The bean has slept through the night without waking exactly one time--she's usually still up once or twice during the night, but when she is asleep, she sleeps much more soundly than she did before and she falls back to sleep faster. The number of times she wakes is less and, the most amazing part is that she sleeps from the time we put her to bed (around 8pm) until around 2 or 3 am without waking once. This is incredible for her as before I would be running up to nurse her back to sleep once or twice between the time that she went to bed and when we did.

Our daytime nursing is still unrestricted and you can bet the bean is making up for those lost night sessions by nuring eleventy billion times during the day, but I'm so glad we were finally able to stop the night nursing. (And also a teeny tiny bit sad that our bean is getting to be such a big girl that she no longer needs it.)


A "room" of my own


We don't usually make resolutions around here, but this year we have a big one--organization. We had so much going on when we moved in two years ago that we didn't spend much time thinking about how to organize our stuff, we just shoved it wherever it would fit. In 2011, we plan to rectify the situation and we got a jump start on new year's eve. As we were cleaning out our coat closet for the third time in as many months, the boy had a brilliant idea. We rarely use our front door so we end up leaving coats, hats and gloves by the back door. The coat closet has become more of a dumping ground, so the boy suggested we convert it into a craft space for me. Yippee!!I can't believe I'm sharing this with you, but this is our scary, embarrassing closet before we cleaned it out. You may notice my sewing machine and some half finished craft projects on the floor. It used to be a bit of an ordeal to pull the machine out each time I needed to use it (I would sew on the bean's little child sized table).We removed the hanging rod and added some supports for a desktop.It took a bit of work to get the angles on the desktop right. We hadn't figured into our measurements the fact that none of the walls are square.We built a second shelf above the desktop and added some paint. After that, it just took a trip to ikea for storage solutions and I now have a craft "room!"I have all my fabric stacked on the top shelf next to a box containing patterns and large tools. Pins, scissors and other small tools hang on the wall in front of me as I sit, my straight knitting needles are stored in a tall vase to the left along with a wall mounted spool rack that holds thread.In my convenient new space, I whipped up some circular needle storage to hang on the wall to the right (love this).I have a garbage can on the floor which, rather than being used for garbage, holds balls of yarn just waiting to be knit together (there's a larger bin in another closet--my, I have lots of yarn). The sewing machine still sits on the floor, but we drilled a little hole at the back of the desk that the cord fits through. I have an extension cord tucked in next to it so sewing is just a matter of plugging in to the nearby outlet and moving the machine to the desk.Oh happy day! I love being able to see all my tools and fabric and knitting projects. I'm no longer starting things and forgetting about them because they've been tucked away here or there. The boy is so happy that there are no longer in-progress knitting projects on every available surface--now everything has a home! What a great start to 2011.[...]

Snow Day


This was the view out our bedroom slider when we woke up this morning.

And the downstairs slider.

And our car.

What a lot of shoveling we have to do!


Skirting the issue


I had one more christmas craft due before the big day and I was able to sneak this one in right under the wire.Our first christmas living together, the boy and I acquired a big bunch of new christmas decorations. The following year, I was just coming out of my first trimester of pregnancy and was not feeling up to digging all the decorations out of storage, so we didn't decorate that year and that's why, when we unpacked our decorations last year, it was like we were seeing everything for the first time. We didn't unpack a tree skirt and were sort of surprised since we vaguely remembered owning one, but neither of us could really picture what it looked like and we certainly couldn't find it.Last year, we did without a skirt, but this year I decided to rectify the situation. I loved this skirt the moment I saw it (I'm a sucker for polka dots), but wasn't feeling the $60 price tag.I figured I could whip up something similar, so I started out with a couple yards of white muslin and used the string-tied-to-two-pens technique to make two perfect-ish circles roughly 4 ft in diameter. I then cut slits through one side and made smaller circles in the center for the tree opening. I sewed those two circles together, leaving an opening for turning and turned the whole business right side out.I then stitched one round of red ric rac at the outer edge of the skirt.The polka dot part was the most time consuming. I found three household items of varying size to serve as my templates and traced and cut many, many circles from wool felt.I pinned a piece of scrap muslin over the hole to make finding the center easier and, using the string-and-pen technique, I marked three concentric circles on the skirt using a disappearing fabric marker. I then spent hours agonizing over the correct "random" dot placement.Finally, I sewed all the little dots down with coordinating thread. I'm sure fabric glue would have also worked, but we're a little suspicious of glues around here and I thought the stitching would wear a little better.The last step was to stitch more ric rac round and round the circles and throw that baby under the tree! The only regret I have (that I plan to rectify before packing it away until next year) is that I didn't add fabric ties to hold it closed. It works fine as is, but the ties will definitely make it more bean-proof.The bean says merry christmas to those celebrating tomorrow![...]

Where, oh where has December gone?


December somehow got away from me this year. I took on some extra work this month and that, along with household chores and chasing after the bean, has kept me away from my usual christmas preparations. Finally, this last weekend, I found the time (in between holiday parties) to bake batches and batches of christmas cookies while listening to carols and finishing up some last minute crafts. NOW it feels like christmas is coming!


Do you remember this stocking that I started for the bean last year? I stitched like crazy on it all of last December, but I knew there was no chance of getting it done in time. You might think it has been finished for months, given the fact that I had all year to work on it, but I needed to give the thing a little rest at the beginning of last year and only worked on it here and there for several months. This fall, I kicked it into high gear and finally finished up all the stitching.


Last weekend I found the time to do the finish work (ugh, the finishing seems to take longer that the actual stitching). I'm very happy with how my first attempt at embroidery turned out. We hung it up alongside my handmade stocking from my childhood and a place holder stocking for the boy. It took a full year to complete the bean's stocking, so perhaps in two years I'll complete the other two kits I have hiding in my sewing table for us?