Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Projects for the Newbie:

(First of all, I'm really grateful I uploaded these to blogger when I did, because since then, the use of a knock off apple cord from Hong Kong has fried the motherboard of my computer, and if I decide to fix it for $400, I may or may not lose all the data on my computer, which I last backed up in late November.... So basically, I have what photos I have on my blog!) 

The reason I even wanted to make a quilt was to use crochet edge bias tape... I just think it looks so polished and feminine, I was determined to find a quilt pattern to make so I could use it!  Like I said on my Instagram post, I decided on this isosceles triangle quilt because it looked easy enough... well, getting all those points to match up wasn't actually too easy.  Now that I've done it once, I think I could cut a better triangle pattern and do a better job in the future.  I do have a vision for a giant picnic blanket, with huge pieces, maybe triangles, maybe hexagons... so we'll see if that ever happens.  Also, the "quilt" will have weighted corners so I'm not constantly finding heavy objects for the edges and then having the children move them.  Just a thought.
Here, you can see the backing, which is the print I love and am getting a little too obsessed over. I chose the solids for the front based on this material.
My other favorite project has been learning to knit!  A dear friend in California taught me how on this "egg" photo prop over Christmas break.  I have zero idea if it will be the right size for a newborn, but it looks cozy and will likely be just fine!  The best part was that my friend Margene bought the yarn ahead of time so I didn't even have to debate or get educated on what to buy.  Once I got home and was looking for a place to store the leftover yarn, I thought I may as well get rid of some more yarn so it didn't take up so much space.  And then the hat was born.  It looked kind of plain once I was done, so I added the pom pom and called it a day!  Don't look too closely as there is no technique and I seriously just guessed with each stitch I took, skipping and combining stitches until it came together at the top! 

One of, if not the best part of having a custom crib bedding Etsy shop, is that I get allll the leftover fabric! Burp cloths have been one of the most useful, efficient uses of this stash.  I've probably made 17 or 18 in the past few weeks, they are such a quick sew and almost free to make!  The chenille backing is pretty cheap once I cut each yard into several cloths.  Plus, this is such a fun way to have and use cute fabrics in my life, without being too kitchy or homemade... These are my go-to baby shower gift as my student budget is pretty tight, and I think people want something handmade from me.  So I made all these burp cloths, half to give away, but now Scott is loving all the ones I was planning to gift, and I just can't part with the ones I intended for our new baby girl!  But honestly, I don't need 20 burp cloths, so we are going to have to make some big decisions ;) 

Who would have thought that my style could change over just 3 years time?!  It has.  No big bows.  I don't think I ever got too huge with Tatum, but for this baby, the smaller the better!  I had the best time in the trimmings shop (and a friend took T so I could really explore!!) and came away with some cute new bands and ideas.  Again with the fabric leftovers, score!
 That leather one second down kills me!
 And the biggest project I've tackled:
 I Love You All The Time is our favorite book.  It is such a sweet story about a bear who knows that his Mama loves him "all the time," when he's happy, sad, excited, mad, even when she's on the phone, or busy with other things, she loves him all the time.  Whether he is walking or crawling, silent or talking, when he's awake or when he's sleeping, she loves him all the time.  It is so sweet when Tatum randomly grabs my hand and says "I love you ALLL time, Mama!"  Since I couldn't find a printable on Pinterest, I decided it was up to me to make it myself.  (And now the .psd files are gone...) I knew the look I wanted and got to work in Photoshop drawing each flower/leaf/bud and then manipulating them to have variety and look different around the page.  I love how it turned out!  Next problem:  How to watercolor.  I used a bit of my Christmas money to get a set of watercolors (Um, even without a coupon, the Michaels brand semi-pro palette of 36 is cheaper than the KIDS CRAYOLA 6 color set.  What a rip off!) and some watercolor paper- the key ingredient.  This was my first attempt, but I think watercolor is pretty fun and there is more technique than I thought.  The biggest thing for me is not being afraid to leave white space.  The colors run into each other and that's okay (Well, actually, that's the point!) it doesn't have to be perfectly filled in or exact.  Sounds like a good time to me!

 And this zipper?  Couldn't keep me away.  I am pretty ashamed that I've just mastered installing a good looking zipper, but I guess better late than never.
Who knows what other projects are in store before April 10th!  The more the better!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bump-Date at 32 weeks

I have made a pretty conscious effort not to talk/complain about the hardships of pregnancy this time around.  It does nothing good for me and gets old for everyone else.  But with that, I've noticed that I haven't said much at all about it, and it is worth documenting!  

Overall, this pregnancy has been very different than with Tatum.  Thank heavens!  Still not easy, but much better.  At this point, 32 weeks (so, 2 months to go...) I'm generally awake from about 2-5am-- I'm not too impressed.  I lay in bed at night thinking that caring for a newborn sounds so much easier than just tossing and turning, torturing myself with the unknowns of the future- like you know, where we'll live, and what on earth we will name this baby!  I didn't plan to use the sound machine I got for the baby for Christmas until the baby came, but it is actually coming in quite handy for me, drowning out some of the street noise.

I am trying really hard to keep all my normal commitments (playgroup, preschool, music class...), to get out of the house every day, and to set benchmarks to look forward to.  I was really worried about lifting the stroller on the subway stairs, but it's been less of an issue than I anticipated.  Basically, I physically can't lift it, so I either ask for help from a stranger (Which goes over WAY better when I unzip my coat so they can see my belly) or have Tatum get out and walk, while I carry the folded stroller.  Not convenient but not the end of the world.

Heres a little survey about this pregnancy that I've answered:

Weight:  The baby is estimated to be in the 80 percentile, so there is definitely growing going on!

Missing Anything: Laying/sleeping on my stomach. And taking very long, very hot baths. 

Favorite Moments: Relaxing in the tub for a few minutes, alone, a few times each week.  This is only ever achieved if I lock the door. It's the best!  

Eating: Iron pills 3x a day, and really loving stir fried veggies and also Mochi balls (Japanese rice/ice cream balls) from Trader Joes.  Not sure these things are pregnancy related, but still good!  Between anemia and hyperglycemia (sounds so intense) the doctor has told me to eat lots of steak and carry little candies with me always.  I won't complain!

Feeling: Tired. Always.  This anemia thing does a number of my energy levels and I feel like I could sleep for 8 hours during the day... just not at night.  At 29 weeks the baby was head down, but I swear she took a giant flip during a Broadway show the other night... so we will see how she's positioned at my next ultrasound at 36 weeks! 

Gender: Girl! We've retired half of Tatums headbands and made some new ones for this baby girl- I just can't control myself in those trimmings shops downtown!  T is excited to have a baby sister and to BE a big sister!

Names: The list is narrowed to about 30 names... we don't necessarily agree, but at least there is a list.  If it were up to me I'd have a name chosen and be testing it out by now ;)

Craving: Popscicles!  And some real sushi!  I think my first outing post baby will be to an all you can eat sushi bar.  

Maternity Clothes: Even many of my maternity clothes don't cover my belly completely anymore.  It's kind of unbelievable.  Thanks to Santa I do have lots more options this time around, including a black dress that gets me to church every week!

My Mood: Well, I feel fine but Scott says I am pretty crazy.

Exercise: I do yoga and stretch sporadically, but no real exercise regimen like I had last time.  Although, walking NYC is pretty good exercise!  Yesterday we logged 7 miles just being out for an afternoon.  

Excited About: All my newborn projects!  I'm trying to squeeze them in between New York Threads orders!  I am also irrationally excited to switch Scott sides of the bed so that he can be near the window that lets cold air seep in and is even louder than the other side. He ate a piece of my chocolate the other day and as penance we moved up our switch date by 6 days.  Score. 

Anything left to do: Oh yes, plenty. Though, I'm a lot more relaxed this time around, kind of figuring that whatever we need we can get once we need it...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Way More Than You Wanted to Know About Potty Training

*When I started potty training 3 weeks ago and didn't really know what to expect, I desperately wanted to read something like this to see details of what worked for others and why.  So for others in my position, and for my own reference, here are alllll the juicy details of potty training Tate.

Tatum started showing interest in the potty and actually went several times in a row when she was 18 months.  I wasn't thrilled because finding toilets in NYC is pretty hard, and I just felt she was too young.  Regardless, I wasn't going to STOP her from going, but I didn't totally get on board with prizes and non-stop attention. Sure enough, this phase lasted about 2 weeks and she reverted.  I was happy changing diapers and with our busy summer schedule, it was a lot easier and more conducive to our lifestyle to use diapers.

Then I got pregnant.  One reason we spread the kids 3 years apart is because I feel pretty strongly that I didn't want "two babies."  So now, with an April 10 "deadline" Scott and I decided we wanted a little break (emotionally and financially) from diapers.   Scott was really really insistent and eager to get her potty trained, and lets just say I was better at making sticker charts and buying prizes than I was at actually getting her to sit on and use the potty.  Let alone wear underwear.

We took a girls shopping trip to H and M where she picked out 3 sets of underwear (some sold in a purse- great packaging!) that she was really excited about.  She LOVED carrying around the purse, but anytime I took out the underwear she'd literally scream and run, shouting "no way!"  I didn't want to make it an issue, so I just sort of ignored her and put it away for a few months.

Once we got home from Christmas in California, it was time.  No more excuses.  Age: 2.5- She is 30 months.  We decided to forego the little potty and train her directly on the toilet.  One less transition for her, less dealing with poop/pee for me, and less stuff in the bathroom.  I think the little pottys work for a lot of people and had Tatum not accepted the kid seat on top of the regular toilet seat, I would have gone this route-- I'm just glad I didn't have to! We had a Cinderella doll she was really really excited about, and placed it in the front room on a visible shelf so she could always see it as a visual reminder of her motivation.  She earned the Cinderella doll after (I think!) 4 days of filling up her potty sticker chart!  Glitter stickers did the trick.  She got a sticker for her chart, and one for her, every time she went on the potty.  Actually went, or even just tried.  We had to keep up the hype and constantly praise her, even calling family members consistently to lay on the admiration.  She LOVED all the (positive) attention.

We unintentionally did the "3 Day Method" which I think was better for her and better for us.  Here's how it went:

Monday: I go to a doctor's appointment and when I come home, she had actually gone pee in the potty three times!  Praise Scott!  She wore a shirt, but was naked on bottom.  Scott made her a "special seat" on the couch with plastic bags covered in a purple blanket that she liked sitting on and kept our furniture safe.  We spent the day reading books there, playing games, watching shows, and drinking water constantly.  We gave her "juice"- a teeny squirt of that water flavoring- basically as often as she wanted this day, just to keep her hydrating and giving opportunity to practice!  She went naked to her nap, and peed in bed.

Tuesday:  We took about a 1 hour outing, but basically stayed home, focusing on the potty and paying attention to our bodies.  No accidents, and earning lots of stickers!! Trying to stay completely off of diapers, we put her down naked for nap and bed, she peed both times.  Lots of laundry.  (Especially when it's not in your apartment.)

Wednesday:  She wore no underwear or diaper, but a skirt on bottom since we had friends over.  This broke up the monotony.  I think this was the most important day to really lay on the praise.  It is getting old for everyone by now, and it was important to keep her spirits up.  At the end of this day, she earned the privilege of wearing underwear (for us, it was important to make this feel special, not just a new change).  She chose princess underwear her first day, and was telling everyone she could and making up songs about her new underwear.

The rest of the week, she was sick -vomiting and diarrhea- so basically we were back in diapers and worried that all our progress was lost.  Turns out it wasn't, but we took 3-5 days off, just living in survival mode.  And doing loads of laundry.   The next week, we recovered to where we had been in potty training, but still hadn't been on a long outing.  It was time.

At this point, we had read up and accepted that sleeping time IS harder than awake time, and consented to do pull ups for naps and bed.  We just couldn't sustain the laundry and she couldn't control it.  Pull ups have been such a good in between because she still gets them on and off herself, and she understands that it is not a diaper.  Now, three weeks later, she generally wakes up dry from naps but almost always wet from nighttime.  She does find it uncomfortable and does sometimes wake up and call for us "I needa go potty!!" so I wonder how long she will stay wearing them.  Im not in a huge rush to move on.  

Our first outing in underwear she peed through both sets of extras that we packed. Underwear and pants.  The second was on a seat in the subway.  Super duper embarrassing.  She told me she had to go, but there was literally no where to take her and I was getting her home as fast as I could.  It was a no win situation.  This day deflated her confidence, but we tried to stay positive, "I know it is so hard and I am proud of you for trying.  Sometimes accidents happen but I know you'll make it in the potty the next time!"

There have been a few instances at home where a little pee sneaks out and her underwear are wet.  Not full on accidents, but enough to change her underwear.  In these situations I have her wash out her underwear and clean up... I thought this was a good idea, but she really loves playing in the sink and isn't grossed out at all, so I'm afraid this backfired on me and cleaning her underwear is actually a reward.  It's back to me.

I kept our outings short every day the next week, and she had no more accidents.  I was a warrior mom, doing my very best, no matter how inconvenient to find her a toilet when she needed it while we were out.  She had little-to-no problem on foreign toilets, she just holds onto the sides and chants "Be Brave!" while sitting down.  Now, she can hold it for longer periods if I'm constantly promising her that a toilet is close and we are hurrying!

Another thing, once she earned her Cinderella doll, she (for whatever reason) thought that she had to earn it every day for wearing underwear.  This wasn't my intention, but it worked GREAT!  Every night we put Cinderella up on the shelf together and then in the morning, once she sat on the potty first thing, she'd earn her doll back for the day.  She was always excited to start the day sitting on the potty and even when playing with her doll, she'd remember she had to go!  This was totally unintentional, but totally worked for us!

Two and a half weeks after starting, she did poop her pants.  She was watching a show and I think just got distracted.  She's had so few accidents that this really surprised me.  I didn't badger her about it, we just took care of it and got new underwear.  Then 10 minutes later she did it again!  But this time saying "It's okay mom, its no big deal."  That's when I responded, "No, this is NOT okay.  It IS a big deal.  Poop goes in the potty, you know that.  This is very bad."  This event was 3-4 days ago, we haven't had any trouble since, but I do worry that she could use poop against me in the future... we will see.

Now I have changed the reward system from going potty to keeping her underwear clean and dry.  She earns 1 chocolate kiss (or even just a chip!) at the end of the day if her underwear were clean and dry all day long.  The first 2 days we talked about it constantly, but now she kind of forgets (just like the stickers phased out) and we only give it to her if she asks.  The sticker chart did last a good two weeks- I started slacking after 3-4 days but it was clear that we needed to keep up the consistency for her.

Overall, I am really glad we waited until 2.5 years old to really start- she is totally aware and ready and can communicate.  She can get her pants down on her own, find the stool- she is way more ready and independent than even at age 2.   Since potty training, I have seen such marked difference in her confidence in herself and independence in other areas.  She now takes her shoes on and off, takes her plate to the kitchen, tries to get herself dressed... I can clearly see that she feels really empowered and I think is having a "flow experience" - where she feels like she conquered something really hard, and now she can do ANYTHING!  I love my sweet girl and know there is probably still a little road ahead of us, but basically she is an all star!