Sunday, July 26, 2020

one month of colin

Happy one month, little guy!

I've been struggling with what to write about the last month, and I realized why: I'm afraid I'm going to jinx it!! Colin is such a relaxed baby! He's a good eater, a decent sleeper, and overall just a very calm kiddo. He only fusses when he's hungry, and even then it takes him quite a while to work up to a full cry. He tries to soothe himself by sucking his thumb, but rarely remembers to unclench his fist enough to actually get his fingers into his mouth. When he's tired, he puts his hand to the back of his head and pulls his fingers through his fuzzy hair. See, tired:

His favorite activity is staring. He stares up into the blue sky on our walks, and he stares forlornly in our direction if we walk away while he's awake in the baby swing. He sits in his little pillow chair and stares at us while we make dinner. But mostly he likes staring at our faces while we cradle him on the couch. He likes to stare at Dan for at least a half an hour after his midnight feed, and refuses to go back in his Pack 'N Play until he's stared himself back to sleep. His gaze bores deep into our eyes. (He captured our hearts the moment he was born, but I have a suspicion he's trying to capture our souls also.)

He's started to add some hesitant coos into his vocal repertoire of grunts and snores. I'm hoping to see some smiles soon! He tolerates tummy time (with much grunting and struggling), but seems much more focused on pushing with his legs than lifting his head. He also tolerates sponge bath time, but LOVES the part where we dip his head under the faucet to rinse his hair. He's only had sponge baths so far since his umbilical cord is still healing, so I hope his love of the faucet translates to a love of splashing in the plastic baby tub soon!

This infant lounger has been a godsend. We move it around the house with us: kitchen, dining room, and, yes, even the bathroom, so Colin can hang out while we go about our days. He does frequently nod off in his little baby nest, though we don't let him nap in it for extended periods of time.

We took our first family walk when Colin was about a week old. I think half the neighborhood was outside that evening, so lots of people got to meet him (from a distance). Since then, we've gone out for walks almost every morning before the summer heat gets too unbearable.

Mae is adjusting well to life with a sibling. She's a big helper and always eager to fetch things when asked (burp cloth, onesie, pacifier). She loves introducing Colin to people on our walks, saying, "This is my baby brother! He barfed on the couch twice and pooped on the wall twice!" (In her opinion, these are the most notable events of the past month.) Her chattiness has only increased since our attention has been split between kids, and there is rarely a moment of silence in our house now.

We are looking forward to month two!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

facetime the family

Due to coronavirus, Colin's first introduction to the family was mostly virtual! The hospital did not permit any visitors, and we were recommended to have any family isolate for 2 weeks prior to visiting. While our first week at home wasn't exactly peaceful even without visitors, it was nice to start building our new routine. Mom took this family photo for us when Colin was 9 days old, the day she went back home after taking care of us for over two weeks.

I put on makeup and real clothes just for this occasion! The photo is a bit deceptive, though. We look all nice and put together, but we are actually surrounded by the typical chaos of the playroom! Here's Mae, hamming it up for the tripod.

While Mae was the first one to meet and hold Colin when we got home, Grandma also got plenty of baby snuggles in that first week. Fortunately, he's still a pretty cuddly kid and loves being held. (But not in that "I'll scream if I'm not held constantly" way. More in a "I will gaze adoringly into your eyes for hours while you cradle me" way.)

Colin's had several FaceTime calls with Dan's side of the family! I think he snoozed through the first few with GranE, Batman, and Colleen. I forgot to take a screenshot of group FaceTime that included Tim and David! (I think he slept through that one, too.)

Dad and Kelsey actually got to see some eyeballs. They must have called during a rare hour of alertness! (They were able to visit along with Kevin when Colin was about 2 weeks old, so I'll have to share those pictures later!)

While it's been unfortunate that Colin hasn't been able to meet all our friends and family in person yet, he does spend more time awake and engaged every day! That'll make future visits even more fun for everyone!

Monday, July 13, 2020

big sister

Mom kept Mae entertained during the week leading up to my due date. They filled the days with picnics, puzzles, and trips to the park while Dan and I were still working from home. We've been letting Mae go to playgrounds, as long as they aren't crowded and she sanitizes/washes her hands right afterwards. Mae was so happy to have some undivided attention from Grandma after weeks of being trapped at home with two working parents!

Mae and I compared our baby bumps. Shortly after this was taken, Mae birthed a small balloon. I think this is the last photo of my bump before I went into labor!

On the day Colin was born, Mae got to celebrate becoming a big sister! We gave her a doll carrier for her Bitty Baby and a very cute "Big Sister" shirt made by Stacey (check out her etsy shop here). She also helped Grandma make some chocolate cupcakes and a big poster to welcome us home!

We missed her SO MUCH while we were in the hospital. We were so happy to come home to her big smile, and she immediately declared Colin "soo cute!" She already loves reading to him, especially her "I'm a Big Sister" book!

Friday, July 3, 2020

he's here!

Colin Matthew was born at 1:11 pm on his due date, Friday, June 26th! (He’s the first person in our family to arrive on time for anything.) He weighed 8 lbs and measured 20 inches long.

My labor started around 1 am Friday morning. I woke Dan at 3 am and we left for the hospital. Fortunately, my mom has been staying with us since the previous Friday (after a 2 week quarantine at home), so we didn’t have to wake Mae or call neighbors before leaving for the hospital. I was 6 cm dilated upon arrival to the hospital and in a decent amount of pain, so they quickly hooked up my IV and prepped me for an epidural. I had more anxiety about the epidural procedure than any other part of labor since my last experience was so traumatic. I sobbed through the whole thing, but it was uneventful and, more importantly, it worked!

Overnight, I rested while watching “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and had my COVID test. They warned me it would be “uncomfortable” but I was expecting it to be more “swabby” and not nearly so “poky.” It felt like they were jabbing a coffee stir stick into my brain. Not fun. At least it was negative so I didn’t end up in isolation.

The doctor broke my water around 8:30 am. I felt so lucky that the doctor on call all weekend was the same doctor who had held my hand through the very stressful beginning of this pregnancy. While this is my second live birth, it’s my fifth pregnancy and was preceded by two back-to-back miscarriages. This doctor was so reassuring and helpful throughout the whole pregnancy, birth, and hospital stay.

I only pushed for about 10 minutes and thankfully avoided an “operative” delivery with forceps like last time. Colin was born healthy and screaming like a champ!

We stayed in the hospital for 2 days and took full advantage of the nursery to get some sleep overnight. We came home to a VERY excited big sister. Mae was hyper-ventillating with excitement to meet her baby brother (and to show us how well she had cleaned up the playroom.) Adjusting to life with a newborn and a toddler has been a lot easier with my mom helping out, but we are slowly working into a routine!

P.S. I'm going to need to work a little harder to come up with blog title puns for the name Colin than I did for Mae!

P.P.S. If I can birth an 8 lb baby while wearing a mask, you can wear one to the grocery store.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

plaid flannel cheyenne tunic

Well, my nursery is finished but my "nesting" instinct hasn't evaporated yet. I'm channeling my creative energy into some last-minute home projects (just bought a new rug for the living room), but I've mostly been sewing in my free time. Since my summer will probably be spent in stretchy shorts and loose t-shirts, I've made a couple items for fall. I hope I'm up to the challenge of wearing real clothes by then.

First up is this Cheyenne Tunic in plaid flannel. A couple years ago, I made a chambray version of view B, a popover style with 3/4 sleeves, but I decided to try out the button-down (button-up?) view A this time. I was a bit intimidated by the idea of sewing a collar and collar stand, but it came together pretty easily.

I love the suggestion to cut the button plackets, pockets, and outer yoke on the bias. It adds a fun detail to have the plaid on the diagonal and gives an added bonus of not having to perfectly match plaids on all the seams. I also cut the collar stand facing on the bias for a little fun detail inside the shirt.

The fabric is a green plaid flannel from I don't think it's possible for a yarn-dyed fabric to be "off grain," but this was certainly a bit distorted, probably from when I washed it. I kept having to adjust the fabric while cutting so that the pattern pieces would line up square to the plaid. Even though my cut pieces looked a little distorted, it was easy to keep everything lined up while sewing using the plaid as my guide. I'm glad I took my time when cutting. (Also, I did not realize how perfectly I pattern-matched one of the sleeve plackets until I was looking at these photos. I assure you that was entirely unintentional.)

After sewing the French seams on the sides, I was worried that the shirt might be a bit too snug across the bust. It was measuring smaller than the finished garment size on the pattern, so I was probably a little too generous on my side seam allowances. I took out the side seams and sewed/serged them instead, which added a little extra room. It at least fits my dress form nicely now! (Not sure why I'm particularly concerned about being able to button this shirt, since I often wear flannel shirts unbuttoned over a t-shirt anyways.)

The buttons are standard black shirt buttons from JoAnn. My only trips from the house the last couple weeks have been to the doctor's office for check-ups and to JoAnn for buttons and thread. Dan said he's seen less and less people wearing masks at the grocery store, but JoAnn customers still seems pretty dedicated to mask-wearing. I bet they're all secretly thinking, "I spent HOURS sewing these darn things and by gosh I'm going to WEAR THEM." I'm hoping to get as much wear out of this shirt in the fall as I am currently getting out of the mask Mom made me!

bump update

Just a quick post to share a photo of my giant belly. This picture was actually taken about a week and a half ago (37 weeks), so you'll just have to picture my belly slightly bigger (and a bit lower) than in this photo.

I'm also modeling a recent sewing project, a Julia cardigan in black Kaufman laguna jersey. It's one thing I've made that I can actually try on! I sized up to a medium this time (my last version was a size small). I might need to shorten the sleeves, though they will provide good hand-coverage for chilly days.

I mostly took this photo to put in the baby book I'm working on. I realized we had no recent photos of Dan either, so I made him take one in our backyard. He recently replaced all the rotted wood in this bench with new cedar slats, so we are each showing off our recent projects here!!

Friday, June 12, 2020

a weasley sweater for me

Why do I always finish knitting sweaters as soon as it starts to get hot?? Plus, I can't even fit in this one right now! I am greatly looking forward to wearing it in the fall. (Hopefully I will fit in it by then.)

I have wanted one of these Harry Potter-inspired "Weasley Sweaters" as soon as I saw the first movie. I was even jealous of the baby version I made for Oliver. I found a free pattern on Ravelry and adapted it to work for my worsted weight Universal Yarns Deluxe Tweed. I used the colorways Navy (gifted from Dan for Christmas this year) and Smoke (leftover from the Kobuk hat I made last year). These are similar to the colors of Harry's sweater, while Ron's is the classic Gryffindor maroon & gold.

The "C" is knit in intarsia. I think duplicate stitch is easier, but I didn't want the extra bulk of doubling up the stitches. I made my own chart in excel by tracing a "C" in a font I liked (Bell) and sizing it to 32 stitches by 49 rows.

I really like the roomy style of this pattern and the drop shoulders, which match the sweaters from the movie well. However, I knit the hem and collar as 2x2 ribbing instead of rolled. While a rolled collar would be more authentic, I was worried that it wouldn't hold its shape well, and I knew that a rolled hem would be constantly rolling up and driving me crazy. So excited to wear this cozy sweater when it gets cold (and I get less huge) again!

More details about sizing and modifications on my Ravelry page.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

may showers bring june babies

Okay, it's been over 3 weeks since Mae's birthday party so I feel comfortable saying that no one contracted coronavirus as a result of our gathering. The risks were low considering we'd all been pretty well socially distanced, but I've breathed a little easier each day that passed since then. (Figuratively. In reality, breathing gets a little more difficult every day from lugging around this pregnant body.)

As I mentioned in Mae's birthday post, we also used our brief family gathering time to have a little baby "sprinkle." Mom and Kelsey prepared a bunch of delicious appetizers, along with adorable baby-themed cookies and chocolate covered pretzels! I forgot to take a photo, but everything looked so cute spread out on the dining table! We had originally planned to have a larger shower with everyone from both families over Dan's birthday weekend, but cancelled it because of coronavirus. I was just so grateful that we were still able to have a little gathering to celebrate this baby. (Plus, we are well-stocked on cute and cozy baby outfits now!)

We played a few shower games. I particularly liked the "Must Match Mae" game where we all tried to guess how Mae would answer questions about the baby. For your information, baby will have blue eyes (statistically unlikely but that didn't stop Mae from having blue eyes) and gray hair (takes after his parents.) His favorite color will be pink and he will look like "a person." He will wait to walk until he's 2 and be born on a Friday! She's got it all planned out!

Between Mae's birthday lunch and the baby sprinkle, we hung out in the backyard, enjoying the sunny weather as we relaxed around the pool.

No, not a real pool... the $10 plastic kind from the hardware store. Mae and Kelsey "painted" each others fingers and toes with water...

... and had an epic bubble gun battle.

It was just so nice to visit with family. I think our little social butterfly really appreciated being able to chat and play with people besides us! We were all pretty exhausted after the weekend. That was more socializing than we've done in MONTHS!

I should also mention, the family guesses in the "baby pool" are in... with due date guesses ranging from 6/23-6/30 and birth weight guesses ranging from 7 lb 3 oz to 8 lb. (I'm a little worried that the 8 lb guess is going to be closest!) Just 2.5 weeks to go now!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

six years of blog

Happy 6th birthday, blog! You gained a trim 29 posts over the last year. Though that’s less than previous years, we covered all the usual highlights: family events, house projects, and crafts! I think my blog book this year turned out just as beefy as each year before!

Over the last couple months, while we’ve been dealing with the impacts of coronavirus and social distancing, most of my posts have been to share pictures of my finished craft and home projects. That’s the only stuff keeping me sane, considering we haven’t done... well... anything else. Dan’s been working from home since March 13th, which was also Mae’s last day of daycare. I’ve only been to the office twice for a couple hours at a time since March 19th. Dan has done all our trips to the grocery and hardware store. I can count the number of times I’ve left the house (other than short walks) on two hands. I’ve driven to work twice, to the OB three times, to the Chinese carryout restaurant once, to the post office drive-through once, and to the park once. (I could have walked to the park if I wasn’t so massively pregnant.) With daytime temperatures getting into the 80s, even my commitment to our daily walks has waned. I am mostly confined to the air-conditioned indoors or the shade in the backyard (if there’s enough of a breeze.)

In just a few weeks, everything will change again. Instead of waking at night to manage my hip pain, I’ll wake to feed my newborn. Instead of balancing parenting and working from home, I’ll balance parenting a 4-yead-old and an infant. Instead of channeling all my extra energy into crafts and home projects, I’ll... who am I kidding? I won’t have any extra energy.

While it’s been scary and stressful to be pregnant in the time of coronavirus, I’m thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with Dan and Mae. We’ve tried to plan things to look forward to, like our “sleepover” with Mae last weekend. Our days are a bit monotonous, but I have lots of happy, silly memories from this time. I’m thankful that maternity leave will give me the ability to stay home and safe for a few more months while businesses reopen.

I wonder what life will look like when this blog turns 7. It’s too hard to think about the future right now. I’m just trying to get through the next few months!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

charley harper nursery

The nursery is ready for baby boy! Putting this together seemed to take FOREVER. With Dan and I working from home and having Mae at home full-time, there just aren't very many hours of the day to get things done around the house!

I knew that I wanted to incorporate some Charley Harper artwork/fabric into the nursery. (Probably before I knew I wanted a second kid.) I upholstered these valances in "Upside Downside" fabric featuring nuthatches and woodpeckers. Dan built the valances for me from pine 1x10s, and we followed this tutorial to upholster and hang them. I had BARELY enough fabric to cover both and ended with just a few square inches remaining. Fortunately, I was able to pattern-match even with my very limited fabric when sewing the seam at the center of each valance.

I painted the ceiling a bright white and the walls in Sherwin Williams Alpaca to coordinate with the valances. We put up a little piece of trim along the side of the room to separate the ceiling and wall. The rug is a bound piece of carpet (same as Mae's) ordered from a local flooring store. Behind the valances, I hung sheers for a bit of privacy and to match the other street-facing windows. We also hung black-out vinyl roll shades. This setup has worked well in Mae's room so far, so we copied it for this room. Don't my felt birds look perfect in this spot by the rocking chair??

Following a tutorial from We All Sew, I also made a little canvas throw pillow in this "Cardinal Stagger" print. The cover is removable with an invisible zipper, because I'm sure it's going to need washing at some point!

I was searching the internet for something fun and colorful to hang on the wall when I found this 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle featuring a Charley Harper line drawing. Mae and I had lots of fun assembling the puzzle together. I gave her little piles of matching pieces, and she was shockingly quick at putting them together! I ordered the custom-sized frame from Art To Frames, same place where got the frame for my Indiana watercolor.

I incorporated the colors from the puzzle into this Plaidish Quilt. I had the idea to make a plaid quilt a few years ago and was very excited to find that Kitchen Table Quilting had already done the hard work of designing a (free!) pattern. Obviously, I won't use the quilt in the crib, but it makes a soft, washable play-mat (and a fun room decoration).

I sized down the pattern, removing a couple rows and columns and cutting my shapes to 1.25", 3.25", and 4" instead of the sizes recommended by the pattern. The resulting quilt is about 36" x 50". I used Windham Fabrics Bedrock Collection ordered from Cali Quilt Co (same Etsy shop where I got the Kona solids for my Hold Tight Quilt) and Keepsake Quilting. I was again playing fabric-chicken here and ended with only tiny strips of some colors remaining from the fat quarters I ordered. It required lots of planning and left no room for error when cutting! Since a couple people asked after my last quilt post, yes I did pre-wash all the fabric before cutting and sewing (after serging the edges). Despite all the tiny pieces, this quilt top came together pretty quickly. I quilted it on my own machine with Hobbs 80/20 for the batting and a quilting cotton in the same cardinal print as the throw pillow for the backing. I swear by 505 basting spray. It's the fastest quilt basting method and the only one I've had good luck with keeping everything together snugly while I quilt. I also added a "Love, Mom" patch to the front with a little piece of leftover fabric from the nursery valances.

I knit this leafy baby blanket from Drops Cotton Merino in the colorway Pistachio. This is the same yarn I used for Mae's baby blanket, and it has held up well to lots of snuggling and several trips through the washing machine. This is my 3rd time knitting this pattern, and I still love it!

I also knit a little newborn hat to coordinate with Mae's. I used leftover Rowan Wool Cotton 4-ply in the colorways Sea and Dark Lime. Who knows if this baby will actually need a hat, being born during the peak of summer heat, but it was a quick little knit!

Finally, this room has no closet, so we installed a hanging rod into the nook next to the dormer window. Eventually I would consider adding doors to make a little closet, but for now I'll just enjoy looking at the cute baby clothes hanging here.

The nursery is ready but I still have lots to do to prepare for baby boy! Dan and I sorted through Mae's old clothes and washed all the bottle parts. We also got the infant car seat and swing put back together this week. I still need to stock the changing tables and wash a bunch of clothes. Less than 5 weeks until my due date!

Details for the leafy baby blanket and newborn hat available on my Ravelry page.