Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bib Fail

I received a lot of receiving blankets as gifts before C was born. I had three baby showers. Not my idea. Anyway, they were taking up a full drawer-and-a-half in C's dresser, and I thought about donating them...then I had a different idea. While I had a abundance of blankets I had a dearth of bibs. Which is a problem when your baby spits up approximately 1/3 of what he eats. So I decided to turn the blankets into bibs.

I designed them myself. One side flannel receiving blanket, one side chenille that I had left over from another project. Velcro closure in the back. They were so cute, and I was so proud of them! And it was nice that they were free except for the Velcro.

And then I realized that they didn't fit around my baby's neck.

That's what happens when you only do your sewing when the baby is asleep.

(In my defense, he has an exceptionally chubby neck).

My next day off I plan for round 2, this time with snaps instead of Velcro, side closures, and more measuring, of course. There are plenty more receiving blankets, after all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I did over my summer maternity leave

Behold: our basement when we bought the house three and a half years ago. Check out that green and orange shag carpet. Observe the bi-fold doors flapping in the breeze. Cringe at the fake wood paneling. (Closer observation revealed that there were three distinct varieties throughout the basement.)

The entire house was a disaster, and the basement fell to the bottom of our list. As the years passed it began to look worse as the basement flooded twice (busted water heater, then incorrectly fastened laundry hose) and the carpet had to be ripped up. Does bare concrete look worse than dirty, ugly, forty-year-old carpeting? In a word, yes!

When Nemo got his new job, at a Catholic university about an hour away, we were relieved because he could commute while we tried to sell the house. So in April we contacted a realtor--the same one who sold us the house, so she knew what it looked like before--and she loved the upgrades we had made on the upper floor. But, she said, the basement had to be "seen to". In order to list it as a finished basement we would have to put down some carpeting, and she also recommended painting the paneling to brighten it up a bit.

The last two months before Conor was born I spent getting ready for his arrival. Luckily, after he was born I was up and about relatively quickly so I could "see to" the basement.

Step 1: Wash the walls. They were gross. 'Nuff said. (FREE)

Step 2: Apply a coat of stain-blocking primer ($20)

Step 3: Paint paneling a nice cream color ($20)

Step 4: Take down bi-fold doors (FREE)

Step 5: Replace bi-fold doors with curtains that I made with fabric I got on clearance at ($60)

Step 6: Nemo's dad comes over and helps him replace the exterior door and the door leading to the garage. Neither closed properly and were peeling relics. ($500)

Step 7: Have professionals come over to install the absolute cheapest carpet available. ($1000)

Step 8: Stage basement with spare tv, couch, coffee table, plus my desk and computer (FREE)

So for the low low price of $1600 we got this basement:

And now potential buyers won't be frightened away! Hooray!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conor: A Birth Story - Part I: The Due Date

I wasn't tired of being pregnant. Other than a few aches and pains, I had never felt healthier. I relished the feeling of the baby we called "Spud" squirming around inside me. Even so, I woke up on my due date bound and determined to have a baby that day. I was very disillusioned at work and I REALLY didn't want to go in the next day (my due date was on a Friday and it was my day off--I was scheduled to work on Saturday). I just wanted to be on maternity leave so I could be a stay at home mom, at least temporarily. I kind of got my wish. At any rate, I didn't have to go into work on Saturday.

The first thing I did that morning was get on the treadmill and crank the incline WAY up. I walked about a mile and a half. Nothing happened.

<--Me at 40 weeks exactly. Yay due date!

Later that day Nemo and I went to the local botanical gardens to walk some more. We called it our due "date", har har. Whatever, it was really funny at the time.
While there I had some pretty intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, but I had been having those since I was about 18 weeks pregnant. So anyway, still nothing.

While we were eating dinner that night watched the movie "True Grit" (the new one). BH contractions continued, and I made another bad joke about how no one in the movie used contractions (as in the part of speech. I'm serious, there isn't a "can't" or "you'll" in the entire movie ) because they were giving them all to ME. I was starting to time them on my iPod but even as I was doing it I was telling myself that it was only wishful thinking.

After dinner, I hopped onto the treadmill and walked for another mile. OH MY GOODNESS NOTHING. I resigned myself to going to work in the morning.

Then, while I was standing at the sink doing the dishes, something that was NOT nothing happened. I had a contraction, but it was very different from those I had been experiencing for the past five months. It spread over my uterus (painfully) and then grabbed onto my spine and throttled it within an inch of its life. I had to grab the sink so I didn't fall over.

When it had passed I feebly finished tidying the kitchen and started to get ready for bed, moping because if my BH contractions were going to be giving me this much discomfort (ok, pain) from here on out, then Saturday was going to be a very long day.

I had a few more contractions like that, and at about 11pm Nemo and I got into bed. I told him how much my contractions were hurting, but that I didn't think I was in labor. This was mostly because my waters didn't break. I know that only a minority of women's waters break before labor begins, but my mother's broke beforehand for all four of her children and my older sister's had too. I could only assume that mine would break early as well.

Nemo went to sleep. I didn't. It was a long night.

The story continues at Part II

Thursday, September 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 1

1. I got this idea for a sewing project the other day. A portfolio to hold prefold diapers, with pockets to hold snappi, ointment, covers, and even a wetbag pocket built into the liner. It's hard to explain, but it's going to be awesome. Ambitious? You bet. Especially since a) I have no design experience and b) I can hem, but that's about it. However, I stumbled across this Doctor Who-themed fabric on Spoonflower, so I can't NOT do this project!

2. We are trying to sell our starter home so that we can move closer to my husband's new job (currently about an hour away). Once we don't have to pay for as much gasoline anymore, I can be a stay-at-home mama! Anyway, we have an open house this Sunday and I am REALLY REALLY hoping that our house's next owner comes.

3. The baby has slept through the night for the last week or so, 7:30pm - 7:30am. He slept through the night sporadically before then, but this is definitely the longest stretch. He has always been a really good sleeper, and it makes me nervous. What if the next baby is a terrible sleeper? I will be a mess.

4. Also, last week he was suddenly not a crank anymore. This makes me think he is plotting something. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

5. Since Conor started having a regular bedtime, I instituted what I call"Mandatory Read in Bed O'Clock" with Nemo. We both enjoy reading, but neither of us get much of a chance to anymore. He because he no longer takes the train to work and I because I'm either at work or hanging out with an infant all day and trying to squeeze chores into naptimes. Anyhoo, we now make an effort to get into bed at a reasonable hour and read for 15-20 minutes before lights out. I have to say this is one of my best ideas ever. Even so, I have been working on the same book for MONTHS. And I call myself a librarian. Sheesh.

6. There is no food in the house. Almost literally. We haven't done our bulk stock-up at Aldi for weeks because we've been so busy. The plus side is that we've spent only a third of our grocery budget so far this month. The negative side is that we have been subsisting on PBJs for lunch and hamburgers on bread (as we have no buns) for dinner for weeks. I think I have scurvy.

7. I am trying very hard not to call the daycare today to check on my baby. He's fine, I know he's fine. I just miss him.

Wow. Those were not quick AT ALL. Sorry guys.