January 29, 2014

Still Here. Still Pregnant.

Well, the month started out pretty well for blogging but I fizzled out quickly. So much for that.

January has passed fairly quickly which has been nice. It's one of my least favorite months so it's good to get it behind me. I don't love February either but at least it's shorter, and if Bacon can hold out for a few more days we'll have a February birthday to look forward to from now on. (There are other February birthdays in the family but they belong to Washington peeps so we don't get to help celebrate them. In other words: no cake for us.)

And when I refer to Bacon holding out for a few more days I'm being sarcastic because actually I think he or she is going to follow in the footsteps of the blonde child and refuse to be born at all and have to be evicted. Honestly I can't say I blame him/her as I wouldn't want to come out of a cozy uterus in the middle of winter, either.

It has been insanely cold all month, and has snowed several times. As I'm sure you know, snow is my favorite thing ever (insert more sarcasm.) The girls have gone out to play in it a couple of times,
Aren't they cute all bundled up?
and I did a repeat of last year's experiment and brought some inside for them to play with. I have, however, largely avoided having to go out in it myself, aside from trips to and from the car. Pregnancy makes for a great excuse. Next I'll have a newborn, which is also a great excuse.

A couple of really neat things have happened this month:

First of all, Eric was unexpectedly promoted to acting lead man of his department a few weeks ago. This was an opportunity that we figured to come up sometime in the future, but never so soon. He has been learning the ins and outs of his new job and so far so good. At the same time as his promotion, hours were cut from fifty a week to forty which is a mixed blessing -- it means smaller paychecks, but it also means things are quieter in the department while he is learning. It also means that he will be around here more after Bacon is born which will be really nice. When he's working 55 hours a week I worry about the amount and quality of sleep he is getting and it will only get worse with a newborn. This way I won't feel so badly when he is awakened by a crying baby every night. In any case, we are so thankful for this job opportunity and the fact that he was chosen to take it!

Secondly, one day last week Eric came into the kitchen and asked, "Do we have plans on Saturday?" I gestured to the empty calendar and said, "Nope!" and he said, "Well, we do now. Everything is all worked out." I was excited to have a date all planned out by him, including childcare. But when we arrived at the house where I thought we were leaving the girls, I realized that there was something else going on. Sure enough, the house was full of ladies from church: a surprise Bacon shower! I was truly surprised, I hadn't expected anything. I got a generous gift card that everyone must have gone in together on, as well as a few individual gifts, like this shirt:
What are the odds of grandparents finding a baby bacon shirt? I ask you!
And these lovely burp cloths made by a friend:

Aren't they pretty? I love the fabrics she chose! (Pardon the poor photo quality; this picture does not do them justice.) I can attest to how difficult it is to find gender-neutral anything that isn't yellow ducks or gray elephants or the like. I can't wait to use these -- I immediately put one into my hospital bag.

We played games and ate amazing food. One of the best parts was that my dear friend Reenie was there. She gave a devotional comparing bacon with aspects of Christianity -- it was so clever and well done. (Well done! Punny!) It was SO sweet of everyone. Unfortunately since I wasn't expecting it I didn't have my camera, and I didn't think to take pictures with my phone. But it was really, really nice!

My sewing machine is still in residence on the dining room table. I wanted to make some things for the baby, but only have the time plus energy once or twice a week so there the machine sits until I'm able to work on something. My first project was going to be burp cloths. I carefully chose fun coordinated fabrics, and it made me so happy to look at them all together that I decided to make a quilt.

The original fabrics
Oh, brother. My mother, who has quilted for many years, could have put this very simple quilt together in an afternoon (probably less.) It took me HOURS, people. Hours and hours spread out over many days. Actually it took a few weeks of working on it off and on. Of course I chose fabrics with designs that ran a certain direction, and none of the cuts I got from Joann's were quite straight so it took some doing to get straight blocks. I didn't have enough of the original fabric I bought, so had to go back for more, but they didn't have all of the prints so I had to find more that coordinated. I sewed blocks the wrong way together. I ripped out so many seams.
top pieced together

I wanted to back the quilt with minky -- goodness, that stuff is stretchy! I spent a LOT of time googling and reading tutorials about piecing blocks together and binding and turning and top-stitching and sewing with minky (tip: lots and lots and LOTS of pins.)  
I sent this picture to my mom asking, "Do you think there are enough pins in this?"
For almost every step I made with the quilt, I put together a burp-cloth-sized experiment one to make sure I was doing it right. This burpie, for example, was what helped me to make up my mind that I absolutely, positively did NOT want to spend several more hours binding the edges of my quilt.
Peabody immediately laid claim to this one. I only just sneaked it away from her today.
Finally, finally I finished it! At this point I don't know that I could say it was worth all of the time and effort. If I had known just how long the whole project would take I probably wouldn't have started it. But ... I do love how it turned out. I left it in the living room for days just so that I could look at it.

I did make a few burpies out of leftover fabric. Eric had the brilliant idea of sewing a loop onto each one so that it can be attached to a car seat or stroller harness, or have a toy or binky hooked onto it. They are only two layers of flannel sewn together, so I don't know how practical they will be as burp cloths, but the cheery fabrics were fun to work with and I gained some sewing experience.

In my multiple browsings through snuggly flannel at Joann Fabrics, I came across another print that just begged me to buy it ... so I made a couple of reversible blankets. Not that we NEED any more baby blankets. I just thought the print was fun and I love the colors.

Poor Bacon is probably going to be way over-stimulated with all this color going on!

And lastly, a 39-week picture. 

January 11, 2014

Things I've Learned Lately

Dark-soled slippers will leave black marks all over the inside of your dryer drum.

Magic Eraser will remove black marks from your dryer drum.

Scrubbing out a dryer drum at 36 weeks pregnant is not fun.

A wet rag on a Swiffer mop head works great for washing walls. 

Binding a blanket takes a long time if you make the binding yourself and have never done it before.

Minky stretches when you sew it.

Either sewing a straight line with a sewing machine is harder than it looks, or I am just really impaired in that area.

I need a walking foot for my sewing machine.

Memory foam mattress toppers are heavy.

A 2-inch-thick mattress topper will make your bed 2 inches taller.

It's hard to climb into a tall bed when you are short and 36 weeks pregnant.

Memory foam is really great to sleep on if you can manage to climb up into your bed.

You should go through the pictures on your phone every now and then because some of them will make you laugh.

"I'm gonna give you a knuckle sandwich!"
"Dena's face paint for 25 cents WOW"
Fun with dogs. She kept looking behind her to see what was jingling.
I have an awesome husband who, when I complained about the too-tall bed, went to Lowe's, bought lumber, had it cut, brought it home and built a custom support so we could eliminate the box spring. 

And voila! Our mattress is 6 inches lower -- I can now sit on the edge without clambering up first!

And okay ... I already knew the part about having an awesome husband. :)

January 8, 2014

Wait, What?

One whole week of January is gone.

On one hand, this is nice. It means we're one week closer to meeting Bacon.

On the other hand, it's kind of alarming because I'm not necessarily one week more ready to meet Bacon. I have projects I'm working on and I still need to order the car seat.
*sidenote: since starting this post I have ordered the car seat and continued to work on projects.

It also means that it's been two weeks since Christmas and how is that even possible? Seriously, I have got to take down the decorations. *sidenote: the decorations are down and the living room is semi-normal again. And Mama Dog is bewildered and confused because she just got used to it the other way and we changed it all up on her again.

On a totally unrelated note, it's 4 degrees outside. *sidenote: it was four degrees. Now it's ten. I plan to stay in my bathrobe all day.

Time to begin my annual countdown: only 71 70 days until spring!

We started back to school this week. I'm impressed with the Boogie -- she hasn't forgotten anything! We only had four-day weeks all through December before taking completely off for two whole weeks, and the last official week of school was really laid-back without lessons in everything. So, she is doing really well. Peabody, on the other hand, needs to be re-trained in not being a distraction. It's a good thing she is cute ...

... because sometimes she does awful things, like tell the very friendly lady at the cutting counter at Joann Fabrics, "You have a weird face." Oh, the mortification. I've never heard her tell anyone anything like that. I could not have anticipated that at all in order to prevent it. I felt my face turn twelve shades of red. So yes ... it's a good thing she is cute. Also it's a good thing I don't need anything from Joann Fabrics because I won't be going back there anytime soon.
Self-portrait I found on my memory card
I am 36 weeks pregnant today. In general I feel heavy and uncomfortable. Some days are better than others. Some nights I sleep better than others. Part of me wants Bacon to come in a couple of weeks, another part of me really wants him/her to have a February birthday. A couple of appointments ago Dr. S said that Bacon won't be small, but at the last one he guessed around 7 pounds. So who knows?

The girls are adamant that they want a baby brother. At every opportunity I encourage them that another sister would be nice, too. I tell them that God has chosen the perfect baby for our family, whether a girl or a boy. They reluctantly agree with me. The Boogie wisely doesn't say anything more, but Peabody can't help herself: "but if Bacon is a sister, I will just be really upset."

I just inadvertently deleted my blog background and had to start from scratch. That's more than an hour of my day gone forever.

And now my day is completely gone and I'm going to bed.

January 5, 2014

Christmas 2013

Another Christmas season come and gone. It was nice (it usually is) and I think everyone enjoyed it overall.

We had several family Christmas get-togethers: MIL's side of the family came to NJ the weekend before; we had our local family gift exchange on Christmas Eve; and we made the trip over to Delaware on January 4th to see FIL's side of the family. At church we had a banquet one night, complete with preaching, a game, and "gingerbread" house building.

On Christmas Day we always go out to breakfast at our favorite local diner. Last year we noticed another family with little girls, and the girls were in their pajamas. I commented on it and said that maybe one day our girls could do the same. Well, the Boogie latched onto that and remembered all year. As Christmas drew closer she often commented about being excited to go out for breakfast (she LOVES to eat out) and wear her pajamas. I gave it some thought and realized that neither girl owned any p.j.s that I'd care for them to wear in public! So, I made them some. They were so easy to make and turned out really cute, if I do say so myself. (I followed this tutorial.) I bought t-shirts and appliqued them to match the pants.

(I made pants for Eric as well, though not penguins, and now I'm jealous of everyone's new comfy flannel sleepwear -- I should have made some for myself, too!) Anyway, we let them open their p.j. gifts on Christmas Eve so that they could wear them to bed. The next morning I made them some chocolate milk ... and the first thing Peabody did was spill it all over her new pajamas. I made those for them to wear to breakfast, and by golly they were going to wear them to breakfast, so before we opened any gifts I started a load of laundry! 

It was a nice, laid-back day. Everyone got nice gifts and for once I didn't feel like we were completely overwhelmed with new toys. Each girl got something she'd been asking for for a while, so they were both really excited about those gifts.

My mom made them the cutest quilted tic-tac-toe mat with beanbag markers!

 We gave them an easel as well which has been used a lot. 

The Boogie woke up with a sore throat and by the end of the day we could tell she really was not feeling well, so we put her to bed early and had her take it easy the next day.

For the past several years we've done Christmas dinner for whatever local family didn't have any plans, but this year we cooked for Thanksgiving instead. I'm really glad we did it that way because I was definitely not up for hosting Christmas dinner.

I always try to make some gifts to give out. This year I did friendship soup mix in a jar, and some hot chocolate mix in a jar. Honestly I wasn't too impressed with either of them -- next year maybe I'll go back to some kind of dessert.

Other gifts I made this year were felt needle-books for my mom and Mamaw; silhouettes of the girls for both sets of grandparents as well as for Eric to take to work; and skirts for the girls and a couple of their friends. The needle-books were fun to make! I wanted to use nice wool felt in fun colors, but Joann Fabrics only had boring wool colors so I used craft felt instead.

I was anxious about doing the silhouettes, and some of them were easier to make than the others (the smart thing to do would have been to make templates of the first successful set!) I framed the ones for my parents separately, with each girl backed with her favorite color.

I framed the ones for the ILs together with the girls' names printed on the background paper (something I wish I'd thought to do for my parents.) Eric's I just framed with cardstock so that he could slip it under the plexiglass on top of his toolbox at work. I think the silhouettes were my favorite gifts to give this year -- they were the ones I was most excited to give, anyway!

A non-gift related project I did was for Eric's work Christmas dinner. It's hosted at a nice catering facility. I didn't have anything to wear so I ordered a maternity dress that I found on clearance online. When it arrived it was at least six inches too long! Okay, I know I'm a little on the short side, but is the average woman six inches taller than me? Anyway, in order to wear it I was going to have to hem it which made me really nervous because for one thing it meant actually cutting off the bottom instead of just turning up the existing hem, and for the second thing it was heavy stretchy jersey knit which is notoriously difficult to sew, and I am at best still a very novice seamstress. The dress hung on a curtain rod in our room for almost two weeks before I nerved myself up to do anything with it. I prayed a LOT and googled a lot and finally just went for it and it turned out great! Whew! (Praise the Lord for online tutorials and double needles.)

But ... I didn't have any shoes to wear with it. The only dressy shoes I owned went with the dress just fine, but the heels were way too high for me to manage in my current pregnant state. I reeeeeally didn't want to buy new shoes. Then I remembered that tucked away in my closet were my wedding shoes: white satin sandals, worn once.

Okay, they would be fine, but white? Not gonna work. If only I could dye them. I googled that and it seemed like an awful lot of bother. Then I had an inspiration: silver Sharpie. I tried a test patch on the inner part, and it worked!

It took some time, a trip to CVS, and two whole markers to do both sandals. The color was slightly uneven, and the silver did transfer itself to my feet a little (I might be able to spray them with something) but I knew no one would be closely inspecting my shoes so they worked just fine for their intended purpose! And I was very pleased with my cleverness.

Now, on to a new year!