4.11.2014

My Week in Motherhood

No matter what time of day it is, if he's hungry, tired, wet, or grumpy, no matter how bad or good he may feel, the Mario Bros. song will always, ALWAYS get a smile.  [see photo above]

AA has now had a runny nose for 20 days straight.  A week ago, he gained a sore throat, cough, and wheezing on top of that.  To say we've been a little bit miserable would be an understatement.  There is nothing more pathetic than a sad baby...and there's also nothing more hilarious.  Obviously I feel horrible that he feels horrible, but sometimes he's just so melodramatic about it, I have to hold in my laughter.

>  Caring for a sick baby is almost as exhausting as being sick yourself.  It has been yet another lesson in "So this is how my mother felt!"  I remember how comforting and better it felt to be near my mom when I was sick as a kid; it is incredibly humbling to know that I'm doing the same for AA now, too.

> One morning this week, I started singing "The Circle of Life" to AA while he sat in his high chair and I emptied the dishwasher, and I got so overwhelmed by emotion, I couldn't finish.  Not even because I was thinking about the meaning of life or anything deep...I just literally love The Lion King to the point of tears.

As the sickness stuck around and each day got a little harder, I noticed that I slowly devolved into a total slob.  On Monday, I had fixed hair, make-up on, and wore real clothes; today, I have day 3 hair, no make up, and wore sweats.  Just ran out of energy!

I want, need, and will possibly physically and mentally collapse if I don't get a little break this weekend.  Scott has promised me 3 baby-free hours out of the house!  I'm imagining something simple:  a Target trip without a car seat in the cart, a smoothie while I sit in the sun at a park, and maybe even an afternoon matinee.  Isn't it amazing how in just 4 months an afternoon like that has become a total luxury - and something that has to be planned in advance?!

I am now a woman who picks her child's boogers and wipes his nose on her clothes.

This evening during the witching hour, I took AA for a quick stroll outside before we started to put him to bed.  All of a sudden, I realized I was standing barefooted in my front yard with a baby on my hip.  It may sound silly, but that's what I always pictured being a mom would look like.  And there I was, doing it.  Finally.  I've arrived at the place I've been dreaming of.  And it feels really good.

4.08.2014

A Homemade Baby Toy

A few weeks ago while browsing around Etsy, I notice an abundance of something called "crinkle toys."  I had never heard of these or seen them, but there were TONS of shops selling them, so I figured they must be something babies like!

Essentially, they are just squares of fabric with something inside them that crinkles and a few looped ribbons on the sides.  Seems easy enough for a seamstress like me!

I took about 20 minutes one day and sewed together 8 5" squares, cut up 2 plastic bags and stuffed them inside, and put 4 different colored and textured ribbons along the outside.  Simplest sewing project ever - and AA even watched me do it.


Verdict:  OBSESSION.  Turns out all a baby wants in life is to have his senses stimulated, and this thing appeals to AA's sight (bright colors), sound (crinkling), and touch (textures).  [And technically, it appeals to his sense of taste too, I suppose, since he puts it in his mouth all the time, but I can't imagine it's very delicious!]

It was fun to be able to make a toy for AA instead of just buying him another rattle or teething ring...and even more fun that it's one of his very favorite things.  Make this Mama feel like a winner :)

4.04.2014

Book I Read in March

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is one of those books that I felt like I got asked about over and over when it came out; as in, "Have you read Room yet?"  I finally got around to it about three years later - I'm so on top of things.  And, just like last month's book about a woman's dead husband and sick only child, I have no idea why it would be in my best interest to read a book about a young mother and her son who are trapped in an 11x11 room for five years just a few months after giving birth to my first child with whom I stay home all day, but that's what I did. 

And I LOVED THIS BOOK. 

Narrated by five-year-old Jack, who has never been outside the shack his mother's kidnapper has kept her in for the past seven years, his tiny world is contained entirely in a space shared by himself and his Ma.  She has created a fulfilling life for him the best she possibly can considering the circumstances, but it can only last so long, and Jack's mind is totally blown upon hearing the news that the world outside Room is real.  While this would be a gripping story no matter how it is told, seeing it all through Jack's innocent eyes and reading it through his limited-knowledge, child's voice makes the whole thing so compelling and addicting that I would have easily read it all in one sitting if I could have.  This is a new addition to my all-time favorites list, no question.

[Author Emma Donoghue just came out with a new novel a few days ago:  Frog Music.  Adding that to my to-read list!]

4.03.2014

Four Generations

Our house was full last weekend.  Bursting at the seams, in fact.  With baby smiles and good food and reminiscing and lots of hugs.  An AA and a Mama and a Daddy and a Grandma and a Grandad and a Mimi and a Papa Ted.  Four generations of one family, all under one roof.

AA is lucky enough to have six living great-grandparents.  Six!  Over the weekend, he was able to meet his first two:  my incredibly loving grandparents.  And AA just happens to be their very first great-grandchild, too.  Watching them meet warmed my heart in a way I didn't know was possible.  Hearing them tell him how sweet and cute and wonderful he was brought tears to my eyes.  Knowing how much they love him overwhelms my soul.
This is the first version of a four generation picture we are so blessed and excited to take many more times with AA's four other great-grandparents as well.

These are some of the people I will tell AA about for the rest of his life:  my Grandma and Grandpa, his Mimi and Papa Ted.  I will tell him how they spent the weekend reading him books and playing with his toys and talking to him about anything and everything and hugging him when he cried.  I'll tell him that they spent 36 hours in a car just to see him face-to-face.  I'll tell him his every smile made them so, so happy.  I'll tell him that's what love is.

3.27.2014

Teammates


I know nothing about babies.  And I mean nothing.  (For example, I thought that there were diapers for girls and diapers for boys...this is not true.)

So, ever since AA was born, it's been a learning experience, to say the very least.  For both of us.  For AA, to learn how to be a human.  For me, to learn how to be patient, flexible, steadfast, understanding, creative, spontaneous, and basically a better person all around.

Early on, I would find myself thinking (and sometimes saying out loud), "Why are you doing this to me?" whenever AA would be especially fussy, or unpredictable, or just downright befuddling.  I felt like he was against me somehow, that we were competing to see who could live on less sleep or who could cry longer, or stop the other person from using the bathroom when they really needed to.

But that's not how it is, and thank goodness I snapped into that realization sooner rather than later.  AA doesn't know how to be a baby any better than I know how to understand a baby.  We're both starting at square one.  We're both total newbies.  Neither one of us knows what the heck we're doing.

So that means we're a team.  We're in it together, figuring out how to sleep and eat and nap and play and smile and laugh.  I can't become patient, flexible, steadfast, understanding, creative, spontaneous or better without him; he can't become a human without me.  We need each other mutually and equally.

We're teammates.  Go us.

photo by Sam Lorton

3.25.2014

Another Quilt for a Little One

I'm on a roll with little quilts over here!
I loved the look of the rainbow quilt I made for AA so much, I decided to repeat the basic pattern for the upcoming 1st birthday of some of our dear friends' daughter.
I used 5" squares in 4 colors [mustard, coral, cream, and grey] for the center, added a 5" border in a very pale green with white stripes, and used a white & grey patterned fabric for the back and the binding.  [The border and back fabrics are remnants from my 20 Year Quilt I finished last summer!]
The center squares are placed completely randomly, and there were a few more each of the grey and the cream, so it took a lot of rearranging to get it to where no two adjacent squares were the same color.  Good thing I love a challenge :)
Hope this can become a favorite blanket for a very sweet one-year-old girl!

3.19.2014

Becoming a Work-From-Home Mom: Crafting My Day

Now that AA is 4 months old, I'm starting to slowly adapt to new life as a mom and, hopefully, becoming a work-from-home mom.  I could spend all day forever doing nothing but lounging around with that sweet, sweet baby.  But!  I also have a house to take care of and ambitions for a career in design and sewing that I'm not willing to give up, and I'm dedicated to finding a way to succeeding in all the areas of my life that are important to me.

My priorities must go in this order:  self, family, home, career.  With that in mind, my day-to-day is starting to come together according to those priorities.

First, my self and health:  because if I'm not well taken care of, I can't take care of anything else.  Happy mom is a happy family!

Second, our family:  that's Scott and AA.  I want to be present with them both at all the times I can be.  The most important thing to me during the day while Scott is at work is, and has to be, cherishing my son.  If I have the luxury of being at home all day with him, I have to take full advantage of that and never take a moment for granted.  I get to be there to witness him learning and growing every single day - that is a great, great blessing for all three of us.

Third, our home:  part of taking care of my family is providing a home that is inviting, comfortable and comforting, clean, and full of love.

Lastly, my career:  when the other three priorities are well taken care of during a day, I have time to pursue my other dreams.  This means I may or may not have time for working every single day at this point, and that's okay.

Here is what all that looks like for me on a practical level each day, depending on if AA is awake or asleep:

MY HEALTH [physical, mental, spiritual, emotional]

While AA is awake, I:
  • Pray - I pray over Anderson every night when I put him to bed, and I have the Jesus Calling app on my phone to meditate on each morning during AA's first feeding.
  • Exercise - we take walks about 3 times a week (pushing a 25 pound stroller is such great added resistance!), and since we spend the majority of our day laying on the floor anyway, it's the perfect time for me to stretch!
  • Read - I'm sitting in a chair nursing a baby for about 2 hours total a day, so why not use that time to devour a bunch of books?
  • Eat - I'm not preparing anything that complicated and time-consuming for any of my meals these days, so AA is perfectly content to play alone while I get my meals together and chow down.
While AA is asleep, I:
  • Take care of my hygiene - I shower at night after AA is asleep, and I get up in the morning before he does to get ready for the day.
  • Sleep - Duh.
  • Watch TV - We've made the decision to try to limit AA to zero hours of screen time a day for as long as possible (we're aiming for 2 years old...maybe we'll make it to 1 year, haha), so any TV-watching I want to do must be done while he's asleep.  This means I've greatly reduced the amount of TV shows I watch, because there are just other things that are more important to me now.

OUR FAMILY [Scott and AA]

While AA is awake, I:
  • Engage with him as much as I can.  And do a bunch of really stupid antics to see if I can get him to laugh.
While AA is asleep, I:
  • Talk to my husband - Meaning have any adult-type, boring conversations we need to have (like talking about finances or the yardwork!).  We can talk about those things when AA is asleep; when he's awake, it's more fun to be talking and playing as a family!

OUR HOME [keeping it a happy place]

While AA is awake, I:
  • Run errands - AA loves a good car trip, and Target fascinates the heck out of him.
  • Do some chores - If I toss AA in my Moby wrap, he is perfectly happy being toted around the house while I dust and vacuum.
  • Work in the kitchen - Give this kid a whisk, put on some music, and do some singing and dancing while you empty the dishwasher or cook dinner, and he is happy as a tiny, adorable clam.
  • Do laundry - I toss a load in the washer in between naps and fold while he's awake.  He loves looking at different colors and feeling different fabrics, so that's a win/win!
While AA is asleep, I:
  • Do all other household chores

MY CAREER [Dottie Adele and other sewing endeavors]

While AA is awake, I:
  • Sew (a little) - AA can entertain himself for about 15-20 minutes at a time at this point, so if I have something I want to quickly finish up, I bring him in the sewing room with me and let him play while I sew.
While AA is asleep, I choose to:
  • Sew (a lot)
  • Internet things - blogging, e-mails, Etsy stuff, etc. can all wait until AA is asleep so I don't have to divide my attention.
 
So, that is what life looks like as of now!  I'm interested to see how it evolves and changes over the next couple months as he gets older and how things pan out for my own small business endeavors.  Oh, and yes:  my Etsy shop is now re-opened for business!