31 July 2014

Baby #2: Final Pregnancy Update

Well, here we are on the home stretch and time for a final pregnancy update. My due date is less than a month away, and I've gotten the all clear for labor to proceed whenever it should begin. I'm hoping he'll hold off for another week and a half or two, but we'll see.

How are you feeling?
It depends on the day and sometimes the moment. Earlier this week, I was a real bundle of joy as I was fighting a cold, exhaustion, and lack of space. I feel like my internal real estate is fully occupied, and that can sometimes be pretty uncomfortable. Generally, I'm feeling pretty good with a little more tiredness each day and a 4pm heartburn alarm clock, but I'm grateful for the occasional bursts of energy when they come. While I am uncomfortable a little earlier than I recall being with Madeleine, I still feel incredibly grateful to not experience really nasty pregnancy symptoms like back pain and swelling.

How are you sleeping? 
I've been sleeping pretty well, especially considering the crazy insomnia I experienced during my pregnancy with Madeleine. I find myself making more than one bathroom break more and more nights, but I'm usually too tired to do anything other than pass out again. I find that I get some benefit from napping, even when my mind is going too much to actually let me fall asleep, and I definitely miss naps when I'm working.

Are you still doing yoga? 
Yes, I try to catch both classes each week for about four hours of weekly yoga total. To be honest, yoga is pretty much my only activity, though I did rock an hour aerobics class at 33 weeks. I credit yoga with keeping me feeling strong and limber even this late in the game.

How's your appetite? Cravings? 
I go back and forth between having light nausea/lack of interest in food and wanting to eat everything in sight. George may disagree, but I haven't really had any strong cravings this pregnancy.

Are you seeing the same doctor you did with your pregnancy with Madeleine? 
No, for better and for worse. I loved the OB who followed my pregnancy with Madeleine, but I knew I needed to give birth (and attend the 83 prenatal appointments) a little closer to home now that we live farther from the freeway and have a Madeleine on the scene. For the first half of the pregnancy, I saw an OB about half as close to home, but I chose to leave her after it became clear that we had different ideas of how the birth would ideally go. I'm now happily established with a midwifery practice that delivers at the hospital 10 minutes from our house. I'm definitely in the right place now, though I admit to missing my OB who was one of a kind!

Have you had contractions? 
Oh yeah. I had my first bout of contractions at 19 weeks. Fortunately, they didn't really come back until little over a month ago. At this point, I'm having contractions on and off almost constantly. They could get stronger, closer, longer and turn into labor at any point...or continue to be sporadic for the next month or more. In other words, the fact that I'm having contractions isn't necessarily a sign that labor is near.

How are you handling the heat?
I'll admit it: the heat has been harder than I expected. I do think that being pregnant in the heat is slightly more comfortable than having a newborn sticking to you in the heat, but being pregnant in the heat requires careful management to not put the baby at risk. During the few weeks of heat we've experienced this summer, I have struggled to stay fully hydrated and have ended up spending a lot of time enjoying the cool comfort afforded by our heat pump and the shade in our backyard. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a toddler who follows directions and plays independently so that she doesn't have to sacrifice too much when I don't want to be very active.

Are you nesting?
Ha! Have you seen the blog lately? I've spent most of my nesting energy in the nursery, which is very nearly ready for its occupant to arrive. George and I have been working through a huge laundry list of house projects - everything from inventorying our wine to organizing our paperwork to cooking food for the freezer to changing out some hardware - and we're making progress but not quite done. Surprisingly, my nesting is much less cleaning-related this time around. I must be getting used to having a toddler!

Does the baby have a name? 
I believe so. Now let's just hope that he looks like his name when he is born!

At this point, we're on full baby alert with our bags packed and friends keeping their phones on for the call to come and get Madeleine. In the mean time, we keep plugging away at our to-do list and enjoying every moment with our first born.

What is your must-do to prepare for baby's arrival? 

And, in case any readers are also preparing for the arrival of a second child, check out this humorous look at the "adventure" that's about to ensue.

29 July 2014

A Mini For My Mini

Madeleine is such a little mommy. She loves taking care of her dolls, which includes giving them heaps of cuddles, reading and singing to them, putting them down to bed (laying them face down and covering them with blankets so that no body parts are showing), feeding them, changing their diapers, taking their clothes on and off (mostly off), and taking them for rides in her doll stroller.

When I saw that I had some squares left over from baby brother's quilt, I knew I had to make Madeleine (another!) quilt for her babies. This is a little one - just about 22" square - and super simple, but I hope that she is pleased with receiving a new doll quilt when her baby brother arrives.

How do you use quilting leftovers?

24 July 2014

DIY Felt Ball Mobile

The mobile I envisioned for Madeleine's nursery was the big project that landed on the chopping block as her due date approached and my energy waned. Even though we never missed having a mobile in Madeleine's nursery, I prioritized the mobile a little higher this time around as it is part of my design vision for the room (rather than serving any real developmental purpose).

Between this pin and my good experience with felt balls at Christmas, I decided that I'd make a mobile from felt balls. Just like at Christmas time, I ordered the balls from Ornamentea and received them just a few days later.

So far, this is definitely my favorite part of the nursery. I love the colors, soft texture, and imperfection of it. What do you think?

Let's get into a few of the specifics in case you want to make your own. I started with these supplies:

Two embroidery hoops
Small container of wood stain
Invisible thread
Collection of felt balls (I only ended up using one large ball)
Scissors (not pictured)
Large needle (not pictured)
Hot glue and gun (not pictured)

First, I took the embroidery hoops apart and applied one thin coat of stain to each of the hoop halves that did not include the metal piece. I let those dry for a few days, even though this particular stain says that it only needs a couple of hours.

Next, to make the strands of balls, I cut varying lengths of invisible thread. I tied 3 or 4 knots on top of each other, threaded a felt ball using a large needle, rested the ball onto the knot, and repeated. I used my fist as an approximate spacer between balls. My strands were either long with four balls or short with three.

After I had all of the strands made, I applied a bit of hot glue to the knot below the lowest ball and trimmed the thread. It's a little more visible than I'd like, but I feel pretty confident that this will provide extra insurance for making sure that baby boy doesn't wake up one morning in a sea of felt balls of perfect choking size.

Once the hot glue had cured, I tied each of the strands to the hoops with at least three or four knots each. On the big hoop, I used eight strands, alternating four long ones with four short ones. I used four short strands on the small hoop. Once they were all attached, I trimmed the thread.

To begin assembling the whole thing, I cut eight quite long strands of invisible thread (four for each hoop) and tied one end of each strand equal distance from each other around the hoops.

Then, I threaded the needle with one thread at a time, putting the thread through the larger felt ball from bottom to top, repeating until all of the assembly strands went through the large felt ball and came out the top.

This where I called in the reinforcements (aka George) because two hands is not enough to get everything evened out. We pulled and released and tightened and loosened the threads until the hoops were hanging in the balance we wanted. To secure the strands, we put a healthy dot of hot glue at the top of the large felt ball where all of the threads emerge.

Then, by some miracle, George was able to tie the group of eight strands onto the hook we'd installed in the nursery ceiling.

Madeleine calls this "party time" for some unknown reason. I know we're taking a chance by hanging the mobile above the bed, and I'm sure hoping that her brother doesn't think it means party time in the middle of the night!

22 July 2014

Summer Update I

About a month ago, I shared our summer bucket list. We've ticked a few things off of our list and had a few non-list adventures as well. Here's a look at how our summer is shaping up so far:

  • ZOO: We took Madeleine to the zoo for her birthday. She slept in that morning, so we didn't get as much pre-nap zoo time as we had anticipated...and we got caught in an utter downpour (unusual for Seattle and very unusual for Seattle in summer) as we were trying to make our way back to the car. We came away without a single photo, but it was really fun and somewhere I expect us to revisit...maybe during maternity/paternity leave time. (Ok, now I'm getting really ambitious, huh?)
  • FIVE YEARS OF MARRIAGE: George and I celebrated our anniversary with our annual dinner at Canlis. Each of us had independently contacted the restaurant to make special arrangements, so I was greeted with a beautiful long stem rose at table number 1 and the pastry chef had prepared a unique version of pavlova (filled with berry compote!) for our dessert. Perhaps the most special moment was the one that we couldn't possibly have planned - it happened when my eyes filled with tears because the pianist was playing Forrest Gump Suite, the very same notes to which I walked down the aisle and married my one and only five short years ago. 

  • HAVE A NIGHT AWAY: We decided a while back that our anniversary would be the perfect time to take one night in the city while our babysitter stayed home with Madeleine. I can't speak for George, but I found it remarkably easy to fall back into our couple (rather than family) dynamic with constant chattering and plenty of doing nothing at all. Because we were downtown on the night of the super moon, we went back to Kerry Park (where we took some of our wedding photos) to join the hoards of people checking out the best view in the city. Of course, we were both happy to come home to a very happy toddler the next day...and even happier to learn that she had no separation anxiety from us (after a rough week in childcare). 

  • LAVENDER FARM PHOTO SHOOT: I chose the hottest part of one of the hottest days of this hot summer to suggest we head down to the lavender farm for photos, but it was still great fun. As soon as we opened the car doors, the beautiful lavender aroma filled my nostrils. We had a nice time wandering around the lavender before enjoying some ice cream in the shade and then running through the sprinkler, and we even got to share it with Grandma Pat! This is truly one of Woodinville's hidden gems! 

What does the bee say?

  • BAKE A PEACH/PEACH-BERRY PIE: Peaches are just now in season enough to make a pie, and this past weekend was the perfect time to do so as we had Kiwi cousins visiting from Australia. I'm still hoping to make another one before the end of the summer. 
  • MADELEINE'S HORSE ENCOUNTER: The day before her birthday, I took Madeleine to the barn where our friend, Jessica, boards her horse. Jessica graciously showed us around the barn and introduced us to all the horses. Madeleine wasn't quite ready to sit on any of the horses, but she was happy to touch the gear (saddle, reins, stirrups, etc.), learn about what they were eating, master the proper way to pet a horse's nose, and practice talking to them. I caught this cute video of her calling horses, though I was too busy keeping her from getting too cuddly to take any other photos. 

  • HOST GRANDMA PAT: Madeleine's Grandma Pat came to visit for her birthday, and she got to enjoy lots of cuddles and Grandma reading time. It wasn't on the list, but it sure has been one of the highlights of Madeleine's summer! 

  • PLAY AT ALKI BEACH: Also not on the list but a summer highlight was the morning we spent at Alki Beach playing with our friends, Kelly, Cooper, and Nicholas. The day was far cooler than we anticipated, but that didn't stop Madeleine from wanting to dive into Puget Sound. I was really fortunate that we went on a day George had off from work so that he could chase her and swoop in after her just before she got completely drenched. 

How are you spending your summer thus far?  

17 July 2014

Family Photos

We decided it was once again time to hire the fabulous Aaron and Meg of Evantide Photography to capture our family as Madeleine turns two, the bump is making his presence known, and our days as a family of three are limited. As always, they captured us in this very moment perfectly, and I am so excited to share some of my favorites with you.

I am getting more excited by the day to meet our little boy...especially as he outgrows his living quarters.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying every precious moment of this exuberant little girl. She is so full of life and energy and spunk!

Can you read her lips? Hint: this spot overlooks train tracks.

Let's hope that she is as enthusiastic about kissing her brother after he arrives as she is right now. Right now, she loves patting, kissing, and cuddling her brother. She has even started bringing me books that he "needs" and suggesting he needs his diaper changed.

And I leave you with my favorite...

Which is your favorite?

15 July 2014

Car Seat Cover

I'm back with another baby-related project. Car seat covers have become more and more common, and it seems pretty useful...so I decided to whip up a cover for our little one.

I consulted these two tutorials (here and here) and then just winged it. I went with light fabrics given our baby's expected arrival during the peak of summer. The top fabric is a searsucker, bottom a muslin gauze, and binding a simple Kona fabric - all from JoAnn's. It took just a couple of hours from start to finish and could have been even faster if I'd used more cooperative fabrics and skipped the binding.

Nonetheless, here it is:

I'm pleased with the results and look forward to seeing whether this ends up being useful for keeping sun out of baby boy's eyes. Now hop on over to Misha's blog to see her version of the same project.

11 July 2014

The Big Oh Five

Ahhh, five year wedding anniversary.

It all started with a gorgeous Seattle summer day in which we vowed our love to each other before an intimate gathering of close friends and family from around the world at Gas Works Park and celebrated into the evening and wee hours of the morning at the incredibly special Canlis.

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Over the last five years, we have traveled to some terrific destinations across the globe, shared wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) bottles of wine at a handful of wine regions, visited and gotten more acquainted with each other's families, survived the last year of law school and bar exam, shared in each other's professional joys and frustrations, completed a lot of renovations on our first home together, welcomed our sweet little girl into the world, found the house of our dreams and started making it our own, made it through the challenging times of early parenthood, shared our passions with our little girl, learned to see the world and each other through her eyes, established family traditions that we hope to continue for many years to come, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the fourth member of our family.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I love you, George, and I am incredibly fortunate and grateful that I get to have you by my side in this journey of life. 

Any predictions on where we'll be (figuratively and literally) in five years?

09 July 2014

DIY Crib Skirt and Crib Sheets

George's mum has been visiting for the last couple of weeks, and all of the Madeleine-Grandma reading time has given me time to sew. It's good timing, too, because a) I'm nesting like crazy, b) I've returned to my earlier prediction of baby boy arriving early, and c) I expect to be busy at work through baby boy's arrival (ie I'll be losing the occasional days of being home without Madeleine).

Let me start by showing you the crib skirt. Each one is a unique engineering challenge, and this one was no different. I think I'll be happy that I've used velcro in a couple places to hold the skirt's top to the crib frame so that sheet changes don't require crib skirt adjustments.

The fabric is by Moda, and the houndstooth pattern matches the quilt that I made for baby boy. I went back and forth on fabric for the skirt, seriously considering at least a half a dozen different prints. Although I wanted to keep this room a little more subdued than Madeleine's super bright nursery, I ultimately felt drawn to this print and hope that the heavy white crib covers the skirt enough to achieve a bright but subdued look once the room is done. Speaking of the crib, this is also a preview of the crib, which is both as sturdy as we'd hoped but also more awkward* than we'd anticipated.

As I've previously hinted, I love pleats in crib skirts. So, of course, I sewed pleats into all three sides of this crib skirt. Beautiful, perfectly matched, carefully calculated to hide a seam, classy pleats. Guess where they fall? Yep - behind the bars of the crib. DOH!

The project that really made this (crazy) nesting mama happy was making the crib sheets. I made sheets for Madeleine and have been very pleased with how they have held up, so I definitely wanted to make them for baby boy. Sheets are easy to make, even easier when making them in bulk. This is my go-to tutorial, which I only modify by using about ~75 inches of non-roll elastic per sheet to achieve a tight-fitting sheet.

Once I'd finished the sheets, I felt the relief of a lifetime knowing that baby has a place to sleep should he decide to come earlier than anticipated. My hormones have definitely been a tad out of control lately.

It feels terrific to finish things on my to-do list and to watch the nursery slowly come together. Unlike Madeleine's nursery, I don't have a great image of how this room will ultimately turn out, so I'll be just as surprised as you!

*Unexpectedly, the short ends of the crib don't have the same finishing trim as the long sides and, instead, both carry these lovely warning stickers. Any ideas on how we can cover these ones in a way that won't involve removing the warning stickers or drawing more attention to them? Leave 'em in the comments, please!