Saturday, October 31, 2020

somewhere over the rainbow

While I do let Mae choose her own Halloween costumes, I confess to steering her towards costumes that I think will be fun to make and wear! One of her favorite books this year has been The Wizard of Oz (Great Illustrated Classics version), and she loved the movie. So, when she asked about being Dorothy for Halloween, I jumped on the idea! Plus, Wizard of Oz is a great family theme.
I spent the most time on Mae’s costume. I modified the Caroline Party Dress pattern, (used previously for Mae’s Easter dresses) to add the bias waistband, skirt detail, and straps. I cut a size 4T with a 5T length for the bodice and skirt. She wore a long sleeved shirt and tights underneath for warmth. Doesn’t she look so sweet?
Of course no Dorothy costume is complete without the ruby slippers. When she was tired at the end of trick or treating, she just clicked her heels and magically transported herself back home. Convenient.
Colin was the most adorable Cowardly Lion. This costume is what I would call... semi-homemade. I bought the hooded onesie but added the mane myself. I can’t believe my luck finding this multicolored Bernat Blanket yarn at JoAnn. Isn’t it perfect for a lion mane? This costume was so quick and easy. I just cut a bunch of pieces of the chenille yarn, lined them up on the hood, and used the sewing machine to zig-zag stitch right across the middle of the yarn pieces. Then I fluffed it up and gave it a little “hair cut” to even up the ends!
I can’t get over the mane. It’s so... voluminous. I did have to push it back from his face a few times, but he didn’t complain since it was very soft. Mae and Colin won the street costume contest for “Best Sibling Costumes.” She was so excited!
I used up all my creativity on the kids, so our costumes were a bit less involved. Dan’s Tin Man was assembled from a couple sheets of silver poster board and an old kitchen funnel. Everything was held together with binder clips, which made it easily adjustable and removable! Of course we were working on this at 10pm last night.

For myself, I bought a kit that included a felt hat and straw ties for my limbs. I sewed my shirt, but just as a regular shirt... not specifically as a costume. Mae was a bit critical of my decision to wear a plaid shirt instead of a tunic like the scarecrow from the movie, but I defended my right to creative license. I also made myself a mask with an embroidered scarecrow mouth. I got several questions about how I matched Mae’s mask to her dress. That was the biggest benefit to sewing my own costumes this year: custom coordinated masks!
Speaking of masks, people did a great job with safety precautions. We had a costume parade and pumpkin decorating on our street this afternoon, and I think it was 100% mask coverage on everyone except the littlest kids. For trick or treating, almost everyone was in masks, and almost every house had their candy set outside on a table to avoid any close contact. One house even rigged up a long candy chute, which Mae got a kick out of!
It was a full day of fun! I’m really glad Halloween was on a Saturday this year. We’ve had to skip so many of our favorite fall activities this year, that I’m glad I had a whole day to indulge in Halloween fun. We carved pumpkins (Mae helped by supervising and regularly reporting on how gross the inside of the pumpkin was), roasted pumpkin seeds, baked an apple pie, took costume photos, marched in a parade, decorated pumpkins (big thank you to the organizing parent who provided stickers instead of paint!), trick or treated, and chatted with neighbors. GranE and Batman are visiting this week, so we even had extra helping hands to take photos and watch Colin while we took Mae out for candy. Otherwise we couldn’t have crammed so much into one Saturday! It was a beautiful, happy, exhausting day!

Monday, October 26, 2020

four months of colin

Can you believe this little guy is 4 months old already??
As I've written each of these monthly updates, I've enjoyed looking back on what I wrote about Mae at the same age. As different as their personalities are, turns out all infants are pretty much the same! Here's some snippets of four months of Mae that match up pretty well with four months of Colin:

"Perfected rolling onto her tummy." Yup! Colin is my little roly-poly! Fortunately he hasn't adopted Mae's habit of sleeping completely face-down. He snoozes so peacefully on his back with his little hands up in "touchdown" pose.
"Knows the right motions for crawling but doesn't have quite enough arm strength to lift her belly off the ground." Check! He wiggles all over his play mat: roll, scoot, wiggle. All day long! He loves to wiggle to the edge of the baby gym and dig his fingers into the carpet. Which brings me to...

"Loves scratching [her fingers] on different textures like the mesh sides of her Pack 'N Play." As I type this, he's sleepily scritch-scritch-scritching his fingernails on the couch.
"Enjoys playing with (and chewing on) this water-filled mat." Yup! The water whale mat is a favorite play item currently. He loves to gag himself by cramming the whole tail into his mouth. I let him chew up the four month sticker at the end of our photos this month.
"If she's not rolling over, she's either sucking on her toes, chewing on her fingers, or generating enough drool to fill a bath tub. Are teeth in her near future??" So. Much. Drool. Colin is definitely a bib baby. Between endless drool and constant little blurps of formula, we are going through 4-5 bibs a day. I can feel little teeth nubbins in his bottom gum line. Any day now! The fingers are constantly in his mouth, but he hasn't quite figured out how to get the feet all the way to his mouth. It doesn't stop him from trying!
This month, Colin has started settling into a routine. (Just in time for me to go back to work and mess it up!) He wakes up around 7:45 a.m. to eat. He takes a morning nap in the stroller or baby carrier while Mae and I take a long walk to the park, the square, or the library. His second nap usually lines up pretty well with Mae's "quiet time" after lunch, so I get a few hours for chores (and let's be honest, knitting) in the afternoons. He eats his last bottle around 9 p.m. and drifts off to sleep in the Pack 'N Play after Dan lays him down... AWAKE. Can you believe that? What a weird (read: awesome) baby!
This month, we ventured out (safely!) in public a bit more. We went to the zoo twice and were pleased to see that it's not too crowded and has pretty good mask-wearing even in the "not required" areas. Man, I've really missed the zoo. We've also been to the library a couple times, and both times we had the place to ourselves.
I have a couple photos from last month that I forgot to share, so I'm sneaking them in here! Firstly, ever wonder what the behind-the-scenes of our monthly photo shoots look like? Colleen was visiting while we took Colin's photos last month, and she captured this gem. This doesn't show the pose where Colin's on his back, I'm standing on a chair over him, and Dan is standing behind me shaking noisy rattles over my head to draw Colin's attention. We look a bit crazy for sure. Great lighting in the kitchen though!
Secondly, baby on a log.
And finally, airplane baby. Happy four months little snuggle buddy!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

pen pals

Mae has a pen pal! GranE found a great way to stay in touch since we haven't been able to visit as often as usual. It started several weeks ago when she sent Mae a letter and a huge leaf from their sycamore tree. Since then, they've exchanged several notes, a few leaves, and lots of stickers!
Mae loves when a piece of mail comes just for her! She enjoys hearing about GranE's days at work and at the beach. Writing a letter back is great practice for working on alphabet and spelling, though her notes tend to be on the brief side.
I help her spell some of the words (though I got a very sassy "Mommm I don't need you to spell 'AND'" recently). Then we seal the envelope and walk to the mailbox. Having a pen pal is so fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

colin meets colleen

It's hard to know what to write about family visits these days since we don't really do anything other than hanging around the house! Last month, Colleen drove out to meet Colin (and hang out with us). We enjoyed a mostly lazy weekend with lots of time for snuggles.
On Friday we met Colleen at the park after her morning run and then walked to the coffee shop for hot drinks and jelly cookies. On Saturday, Colleen braided Mae's hair. I'm impressed that 1) Colleen was able to braid Mae's short slippery hair, and 2) Mae sat still long enough for braided pigtails!
On Saturday afternoon, we walked to the park for some creek stomping. Even Colin dipped his toes in the water! He was a big fan of squishing his toes into the cool muddy sand.
On Sunday, we walked to the playground. Mae and Colleen kicked a soccer ball around and raced across the field. It was pretty evenly matched. While one has more running training, the other one has almost limitless energy.
Of course, we had to recreate the photo that Colleen has taken of Mae the last 3 years. Aw I love that little 2-year-old Mae photo so much!
Even though we didn't have any grand plans for the weekend, we still we wore ourselves out! Colleen and Colin got one more evening snuggle in before she had to drive home on Monday. Thanks for a fun visit, Aunt Colleen!

matchy matchy

Do you like my new profile photo?? My old photo featured two-year-old Mae and I (in matching shirts) and no Colin, so it was in desperate need of an update! Now all three of us are matchy-matchy in our new clothes!
First up, a Lane Raglan Hoodie for me. I finished sewing this right before Colin was born. I had two goals with this project: 1) make a comfy, lightweight hoodie for fall, and 2) support a local (woman-owned and Black-owned) fabric/yarn store, Make.Do. I was devastated when I found out the store was closing last year, thrilled when I found out it was reopening under new ownership, and worried when everything had to shut down because of the pandemic. I really like this little shop and I want to see it thrive! During the pandemic shutdown, they started an online shop and now do curbside pickup and shipping for online orders, so I ordered 3 yards of this Art Gallery sleek stripes jersey in Mediterraneo.

I used about 2 yards to make the hoodie. I've sewn this pattern once before for my lemon-print raglan shirt, but I made the hooded version with hem band and thumb-hole cuffs this time. I also sized up to a medium to give this piece a slightly more relaxed fit. (Yes, this meant I had to cut ALL of my pattern pieces again. Note to self: ALWAYS trace pattern pieces from the taped PDF pattern instead of cutting it up. This saves a lot of time if you want to make a different view or size. Fortunately I was smart enough to do that this/last time!) I added a hood lining (there are lots of online tutorials for how to do this) with some gray Kaufman Laguna jersey leftover from my first Julia cardigan. The only other modification I made was to remove 1.5" from the sleeves before adding the cuffs. Next time I might cut the hem band a bit wider.

I completed almost all the sewing (everything but the sleeve cuffs) in one day. I debated doing regular cuffs, since the thumb-hole cuff instructions add 20(!!) extra steps that looked very confusing. But they came together easily and quickly, and they add a fun detail to the shirt. Worth the extra effort!


Since I had some leftover fabric, I made a Be Rad Hoodie for Mae. I used this pattern previously to make her Pua costume. I cut a 4T size but in the 5T length. I even added an extra inch to the sleeves, and they're only juuuust long enough.
Lastly, I made a long-sleeved onesie for Colin with a pattern from Mama Can Do It. It had all the features I was looking for: overlap-style neck to fit over giant baby noggin, reinforced snap closure, and sleeve length options. It even comes with a cloth diaper option, which is just a bit longer in the body. I actually made the cloth diaper version since a longer body means he won't outgrow it as fast! I used KAM snaps (originally purchased for Mae's bumblebee costume) for the closure. Best of all: this pattern is free for the 3-6 month size, which was a great way to try it out before I buy it.

So glad to finally have a profile photo with both kiddos!!