Thursday, July 31, 2008

Daughter 'n me

Daughter woke up from her nap today literally crying to go to the beach. It was already 4:30 so I called Hubs, told him to bring home a pizza, and threw her in the car to go spend an hour playing in the sand.

I am trying - through my exhaustion and discomfort - to savor these times with Daughter, for they are fleeting. Soon it will be so different, and I'm just now realizing our 3+ years alone together are coming to an end. We are all excited about Baby Brother, but it will be strange to have to split my attention, and strange for her to have to share me with another child.

So today we sat on our towel while the wind whipped around us, watching the windsurfers and shoveling sand into a bucket. The wind was so loud we couldn't hear ourselves think, much less talk, so it was kind of nice. We just hung out and watched the waves roll in. After awhile Daughter wanted to "cool her feet off" in the water (she calls the lake "the beach pool" which cracks me up), so we moved to the edge of the water and she played in the goopy wet sand for 45 minutes while I stood in ankle-deep frothy lake water. It's not glamorous, people, but it's free.

The beach is one of the only places where Daughter will completely amuse herself for long periods of time, so I let her play as long as she wanted to. I've been such a crappy mom lately, tired all the time and with no energy to do anything, nervous and anxious, and did I mention tired? This baby is my biggest so far and he is determined to either kick his way out through my belly, or headbutt his way out through the baby chute - very uncomfortable all the time, so I'm not feeling very patient or easygoing. Poor Daughter bears the brunt of it, struggling to keep herself busy while I loll around on the couch.

There I go again with the complaining. I'm sorry.

Well, Saturday is my sister's wedding, so tomorrow is the rehearsal. It's looking to be a busy weekend. I'll be back next week, hopefully with something other than whining...

Monday, July 28, 2008

40 weeks is a lot of weeks

Whoa, July is like, over already! What is up with that? How come sucky old February seems to last forever, but the rest of the year whizzes by in a blur?

Also, how come pregnancy lasts for twelve thousand months but children go from newborn to 3 years old in a flash?

I've hit 35 weeks and I officially feel fat and tired. I can't sleep for myriad reasons, and baby boy is extremely low in my pelvis so no matter where/how I sit, stand, or lay, I feel like I'm crushing his poor wee head. I now realize it is possible to be both completely grateful for a healthy (so far) pregnancy and deeply resentful of how lousy it can make me feel. Oh well, it is all worth it for a healthy baby in the end. I'm just not "good at" being pregnant. God bless those of you with the big families - any more pregnancies than I've had and I think I'd lose it!

So, blah blah, whine whine, etc. I'm doing some pretty hard-core nesting now, which tells me baby is coming soon. I want to be fully prepared by 38 weeks, as that is when Daughter was born. I ordered 2 dozen prefold diapers last week, along with a Thirsties cover to test, from Baby Cotton Bottoms. All are washed the required 3 times for fluffiness and absorbancy, folded, and ready to go. I also have some regular old fashioned Gerber vinyl pants, and I've knit up some wool soakers to try:

Two newborn size and one small. All made with worsted wool scraps from my stash (mostly Patons Classic Merino). I'll hopefully be lanolizing these today or tomorrow - they are going to take forever to dry in our current tropical rainforest-like weather.

I'm also working on a blanket and a couple sweaters, though nothing is in really good shape to be photographed right now. I flit back and forth between projects depending on my interest, the temperature, and my level of discomfort each day. Frankly, I do a lot of laying around on the couch.

Nothing else too exciting to report. I'm anxious and restless and just trying to keep my house in some semblance of order so when baby comes, I don't return to a disaster.

35 week biophysical profile tomorrow morning at the hospital. As always, thank you for your continued prayers and good thoughts!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

pattern wanted

Hey sewing people, I have a request. Anyone know of (or have) a relatively simple pattern for overalls in at least a size 4? I was reading through some old posts looking for something, and I came across these pictures of Daughter at 18 months, wearing her Osh Kosh overalls. I almost wept at the cuteness. The denim! The wee hat! The tiny chuck taylors! Well, we still have chucks and hats, but the overalls are long outgrown. I'd like to make some more. Because, you know, I have so much free time. HA! I figure the next 6 weeks will go by much faster if I just load up with projects I can't possibly finish.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

more baby knits

We had our 33 week biophysical profile this morning. Baby scored 8 out of 8 on the sonogram portion (I do not know what that means but 100% has to be good right?), and I am assuming he scored the other 2 out of 2 on the fetal monitor because his heart rate rose and fell according to his activity. We will find out next week at my regular OB appointment, I guess, but so far so good. Thank you all for your continued thoughts, prayers, and encouragement!

And now, a sweater suitable for a two-armed baby:

I got the second sleeve finished a couple nights ago, washed the sweater, and put some buttons on. The buttons are not a very inspired choice (just clear plastic) but despite the nice button collection I have amassed over the years, not many of them are suitable for boys. Oh well, clear goes with everything. And I am trying to stick to a budget, so I make do with what I have.

"Beloved Blue" sweater from Leisure Arts booklet called "Sweet Layettes to Knit"
Size: 6 months
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby Soft in pistachio - sport weight
Needles: US 4 and 5
Buttons: cheesy plastic
Dates: Cast on 4th of July, finished 14th of July

I love this sweater. This is the 5th one I've made, and I bet I will make it again. It knits up surprisingly fast and has NO seaming. Love that! I'm going to try to find some soft flannel with this green color in it for wee pants, and baby boy will have a warm winter outfit.


Yesterday during naptime I cast on for a wool soaker. I am planning to order my cloth diapers soon (I told myself when I get to 35 weeks I can place the order...again with the jinx thing, I don't know, whatever), and I think I will experiment with covers to see what I like.

I knit a newborn size, all the while thinking it looked too impossibly small to actually fit on a real baby. However, for comparison, above you can see a newborn disposable diaper, the soaker I made, and a Gerber vinyl diaper cover in size 0-3 months (which I believe is the smallest they make). It's quite stretchy and I do think it will go over a newborn's diapered bottom.

Note it is not finished - I grafted the crotch seam last night as the TV news was ending and I knew I had to be up super early this morning to get to the hospital, so I will be making the cuffs once I finish this post. I originally wanted to make them in white to complement the waistband, but I'm thinking white will show poo stains. Eew. Maybe I'll use the blue.

I plan to make at least one more of these in newborn, and then one in small just to see what will fit. They use precious little yarn - I used the white at the waist because I was sure I did not have enough blue, but it turns out I didn't have to do that. So I'm just stash-diving for scraps and leftovers of 100% wool to make these. This one used a bit of Cascade 220, leftover from a hat I made my sister 2 Christmases ago, and Ella Rae Classic leftover from a sweater I made for Daughter.

Well, now I really have the baby knitting for more wee sweaters and accessories to come. I swear all my nervousness and tension flows right down my arms and out through the needles, as if I could knit my way to a successful pregnancy. The faster I knit, the better things will go. Makes perfect sense, right? That's what I'm going with, anyway.

Monday, July 14, 2008

and a choir of angels sang "hallelujah"

Oh, sweet relief! The in-laws did not come over this weekend! I repeat, the in-laws DID NOT come over! I was able to avoid scrubbing the toilet in 90 degree weather (though I still had to mop the bathroom floor due to an unfortunate waiting-too-long-to-run-to-the-potty incident). And we were able to relax on Sunday and read the paper, lay around, watch movies, grocery shop, and even take naps. Don't ask me why they didn't end up m-i-l got her panties in a twist about something, as usual, and gave my husband an earful on the phone before saying they weren't coming and then hanging up on him. Oh dear. Please don't punish us this way, wah wah.

I even got some quality knitting time in yesterday evening once the temperature dropped to a nice, breezy 70.

(Color is waaaayyy off here)

It's coming along nicely. Because of our forty-seven sonograms, we have personally witnessed the existence of two arms on our child, so it's not done yet. Perhaps today during naptime, if I don't fall asleep...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

knits for mama and baby

A couple of months ago I dug out some bright, fun sock yarn from my stash because I needed something to cheer me up - May was cold and dreary so I decided to make myself something happy. These have been my waiting-room and sitting-outside-while-Daughter-plays project, but I pushed through and finished them a couple of days ago:

Plain ol' socks for me.
Yarn: Knitpicks Sock Memories in Geranium (no longer available)
Needles: US 2
Pattern: Wendy's toe-up socks (for a change...I always knit top-down socks)

This stinking yarn is quite pretty but it felts like the dickens. I'm glad they discontinued it because it is SO frustrating to work so hard on something and have it practically ruined after one wash. I put these in the washer on COLD, in a mesh bag, and hung them to dry. Still, they felted. I knit them larger than necessary because I knew that would happen (I have used this yarn in the past) and they still seem a bit small now. Bummer.

I'm thinking I should get crankin' on some footie socks for the hospital, eh? 7 weeks or so, and it's flying by. I'll be sure to use some superwash yarn.

I also decided that it's time to start knitting for baby. I'm a real freak about jinxing myself (which makes my husband crazy), but knowing I'll have so little time for sewing and knitting between September and, say, Christmas has goosed me into starting some stuff. I've got a blanket and a sweater in the works. The sweater will look familiar to at least one of you reading this:

I have made this same sweater 4 times for other people because it always turns out adorable, and because it's hard to find a nice infant sweater pattern appropriate for a boy. Other than plain socks, I've never made the same thing over and over, so you know it must be a good pattern! It knits up quickly in a sweet basketweave pattern combined with cable twists. I believe it's a Leisure Arts pattern but it isn't handy right now - I will post that info with the finished sweater.

I can tell you that after making it once I modified the pattern to knit the sleeves down from the body. The pattern as written has you knit and seam the sleeves, then set them into the armholes. Bleh!

This was originally a post about knitting projects, but I managed to snap a halfway decent photo of Daughter's flower girl dress. My sister's wedding is in 3 weeks so I've really been working at getting both the flower girl dress and my own matron of honor muumuu finished!

The on-the-hanger shot does NOT do this dress justice. It looks so sweet on an actual person. I will post a photo of Daughter actually wearing the dress once I can get her to put it on for more than 4 seconds. I realize it looks all crookedy and narrow on the hanger, but really it's got a nice full skirt below the sash. It needs the slip/underskirt and a human being to fill it out.

Pattern: Burda 9757, size 2
Materials: party taffeta from Joann Fabrics (100% poly) for the dress and, I believe, polyester shantung for the sash. One regular white zipper, white thread, and a yard of eyelet for the slip/underskirt.

This was a nice, simple pattern to put together, but it was odd. The bodice is self-lined with the taffeta, which is good because the fabric is see-through. But you construct the whole dress before putting in the zipper, meaning you have double raw edges on the bodice, and you are sewing over some major bumpy material at the waist. The zipper has to be sewn in under the doubled bodice fabric and the gathered skirt. Not for the faint of heart...and even though I have some experience my zipper still came out a little 'off' at the neckline. I'm hoping no one will notice the 1/8" discrepancy because I'm so NOT re-sewing the zipper into that taffeta.

There was no provision for lining the skirt, so I made a really long half-slip with a gathered waist. I used eyelet both for looks and so I could avoid yet another hem. To keep it hiked up to the empire waist (where it needs to be to avoid any see-through-ness) I've just tacked it to the waistline seam allowance of the dress. Yes, it's jury-rigged, but it should keep the long slip from sliding down to her waist and dragging on the ground under the dress.

My dress is actually finished as well, but it's just a boring navy crepe sheath with a sash to pull it in under the bust (not that there's much space there for a sash, but oh well). The sash I spent 3 hours making yesterday turned out super crappy (I tried to use chiffon so it would be a bit of a fancy touch on such a plain dress) so it's back to the drawing board. I'm leaning heavily toward just buying double-faced satin ribbon and calling it a day.

Well, it's 90 degrees and humid today, it is our 5th wedding anniversary, my in-laws are supposed to be coming over tomorrow (supposedly with food and cake - it was Hubs' birthday two days ago) and to cap things off my brand new iron crapped out yesterday while I was sewing. So that means I have to try to exchange the dumb iron, and then I get to scrub the toilet and vacuum in 90 degree weather. On my anniversary. Oh, and did I mention I am feeling quite fat and tired? And impatient? And there are little feet jammed up under my ribcage 90% of the time? AND my m-i-l actually called this week to ask me to hem a dress for her? Hubs told her no way, and she had better not show up with it.

I'm going to try to have a nice weekend. Hope you all do too!

Monday, July 07, 2008

32 week update

We had our first biophysical profile this morning at the hospital. 32 weeks and all seems to be well. Baby boy is so active that the nurse actually had trouble starting the non-stress test. We've reached the "Alien" phase of pregnancy where something appears to be trying to emerge from my navel. Creeeeeeeepy!

It is kind of fun to have these repeat sonograms. We've got lots of good pictures of his wee face so it's like we're getting to know him in advance. For those who asked, no, these are not the fancy 3D sonograms, just regular ones, but they are quite high-tech so the pictures are fairly clear. I'm thinking this is going to be yet another child who looks just like my husband. Ummm, hello? I'm doing all the work here. It would be nice if one of my children at least resembled me.

In other pregnancy news, I'm not sleeping well due to the burning pain in my hips. I'm so tired but I can't get any sleep. It's a vicious cycle and it's making me crabby. Boo. I've tried the pillow-between-the-knees thing and that only makes it worse. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

feather and fan shawl

I suppose I should hurry up and post some sewing and knitting stuff before this becomes the all-baby blog, eh?

Last week Hubs attended a computer training thingy in Las Vegas, so Daughter and I camped out at my parents' house. Yes, I am capable of staying alone in my home, but we figured that in my delicate condition I should be around people that could help if anything went wrong. Plus, an entire week of solo parenting might have gotten a little stressful.

I didn't really have any chores to do (my mom doesn't even require me to make my bed sweet is that?) so I had ample time for some crafty endeavors.

First up I desperately wanted to finish the shawl I started over a year ago. My goal was to finish it before baby arrives, though I was really shooting for the end of June so I could move on to other things.

Crappy picture, I know, but it was really hard to take a photo of a blue shawl on a pink sheet inside the house on a cloudy day. I had to use the flash and try to adjust the color - this is the best I could do.

Anyway, whatever, it's DONE! Tens of thousands of stitches! And it is finished!

Feather and Fan shawl by Eugen Beugler, from A Gathering of Lace
Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud laceweight yarn in Stream Heather - 4 complete hanks
US size 5 needles (16 inch and 24 inch)
Jump rings (for making jewelry) as stitch markers
Eleventy thousand million T-pins for blocking
Mom to help with blocking out each crochet loop around the edge

The finished measurement of the shawl is listed as 68" across in the book, but mine is nowhere near that size. I knit fairly tightly, so I used less yarn than called for and when we were blocking it we were terrified it would rip if we stretched it to that measurement (I read about that happening to someone with this very shawl on Ravelry). It just wasn't working and the pins were popping out all over the place. So we eased it back to more like 60 to 62 inches across, which is still quite large and useful, but didn't stress the yarn so much.

I still have one full hank of the yarn left over, wound into a center-pull ball, if anyone could use it. Just leave a comment.

I'm rather proud of this project. It wasn't difficult, per se, but definitely tedious and time consuming! It came out just about perfect, except for one gaping giant error that you can't really see in this photo. I must have made a mistake waaaaaaayyyy back when I started and didn't know how to fix it or something, because I left it and now there's a hole. I guess if I wear it I will just have to fold it over to hide the hole (it is about a dime-size hole). For now it goes into the cedar chest and I will move on to finishing something else...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

bargains for baby

So in light of the relatively positive news we received yesterday morning, I went and did a little shopping. It turns out we are drowning in newborn clothing (I was given 2 showers while pregnant with Daughter - one fam/friends and one with work people) but it is all white/yellow/green and primarily duck-themed, which I guess was the thing in Spring 2005. We did not know for sure that Daughter was a girl, thus all the unisex clothing.

It just so happens that Babies R Us and Toys R Us are having a really good sale right now. Gerber layette items and lots of Carter's clothing are an extra 20% off the already marked-down price. Do check it out if you are in need of baby items as you will score some major bargains. I got a few blue wee side-snap shirts, onesies, cotton mitts (to keep the child from scratching himself) and little knit pants. All that Gerber stuff was way cheap (less than $10 for everything). Then as I was at the checkout, I spied some Converse boxes in a bin with a clearance sign.

I must quickly state that I adore Converse All-Stars and have owned at least one pair at any given time since I was in 5th grade. Daughter has owned, I think, 4 pair already in her 3 years, starting with toddler size 4. I am keeping the brown pair and the white pair for baby brother, but the pink high-tops and the black high-tops with pink tongue will go to someone else's little girl someday.

Anyway, in light of my deep affection for these shoes, I sprinted to the clearance bin. People. Listen to this. They had 4 pairs of these sneakers. Black high-tops in size 8 - snatched those up for Daughter as she is just getting into size 8 right now and these sneaks run quite big. Red high-tops in size 5 - snatched those for baby brother. Black high-tops in size 5 - ditto. (The last box contained one more pair of black h-t in size 5 but obviously I don't need 2 pairs the same.)

Guess how much they were? The clearance sticker said $2.00. TWO DOLLARS. For twenty-dollar shoes!!!


When the girl scanned them at the checkout, they were also part of the additional 20% off clearance sale.


Some people might not put their little girl in black high-top sneakers. But I sure will. Especially for $1.60.

So awesome.