Sewing Accomplished

on 28 October 2011

Finally.


FINALLY!  I'm done.  Finished.  Long list of projects to sew--check!  and complete! 

The sewing machine and sewing box have been removed from my dining room table and restored to their proper place (in the very top of my closet).  Almost all of the fabric that I purchased for this incoming babalah has been made up into the projects it was designated for.  In all honesty, I still have some pretty-pretty flannel that I wanted to make into simple dresses for her to wear to church...but it's just going to have to wait.  I am at the end of my ever so proverbial rope with sewing.

And for all that, for all the time and frustration and sweat (I'm a nervous sweater) that went in to all of those projects, it doesn't feel like a big accomplishment.  And that's moderately depressing.  But for the record (sorry, no pictures), here's the list of what I've made up:

  • 24 super soft, super bright and fun flannel burp cloths
  • 6 colorful pacifier clips
  • 2 nursing covers (I couldn't decide between two fabrics, and since the pattern only called for 1 yard, I bought both) (also, I wanted to experiment with the tutorial, if I liked it and it was easy (it was NOT), then it was going to be my go-to baby shower gift.)
  • 21 super soft, teeny-tiny, fitted diapers.  Yes.  I made cloth diapers.  Because they retail for $11 EACH and I made 21 for about $40 total.
My Mom has (thankfully) made all of the swaddling blankets we'll need, and my amazing sisters are combining their CONSIDERABLE talents to sew (what I imagine to be) a GORGEOUS blessing dress for the Girl to wear.

Which leaves only the knitting projects left.  I've been knitting up woolie diaper covers (to go over the fitted diapers and then later over prefolds), once those are done (I'm working on the last 2), I'll move on to the hats/sweater/booties that I've picked out for her.  And in the middle of all of this, I'm also working on socks for Christmas for some of the people that I love. 

So what am I watching?  If you've been reading, you know that I prefer to knit to the soothing sounds of television.  Last Christmas, Chris' socks were completed while I watched Ken Burns' The War.  This year, I'm knitting to Law & Order.  Netflix has the first 8 seasons available for streaming and since I LOVE it, that's what I'm watching.  I didn't start watching it on television until after I had graduated from high school, so these really early seasons are a bit of a trip.  A trip BACK IN TIME!  No computers!  No cell phones!  They use  PAY PHONES, people, in NEW YORK CITY!  ew.  But I digress.

The diaper covers, again, retail for about $20 EACH and I've made 5 so far for less than $12.  Aaaaaaaand this is why I make stuff.  The pattern was FREE and it's incredibly easy, I've bought about 3 balls of wool--2 of which were on clearance for $3--and the rest I made out of a lovely neutral wool that I had in my stash from last January when I stocked up on wool yarn that was on sale as part of their annual inventory clean out.  So for the price of some lanolin, I'll have 8 diaper covers in 2 sizes that should last this little girl until she grows into our bumgenius.  But...if they work as well as I'm anticipating, we may just stick with the prefolds and wool covers for her.

And this is where I admit that I'm almost, almost looking forward to the postpartum period with a newborn to nurse and nothing else to work on.  With the Boy, I literally just watched BBC miniseries and stared into space while I nursed him, rocked him and mopped up spit-up.  After this marathon of making stuff, that sounds about like a vacation.

My new Approach to People on the Internet

on 26 October 2011

Chris has long been trying to tell me that there's no point in arguing with people on the internet.  There's no point wasting time and energy and thought...because (as he reminds me), DUDE--It's the INTERNET.

I'm generally pretty good about it.  I read something I don't like, I see something I don't like, I turn off the internet and step AWAY from the computer.  But lately, things have been getting under my skin...irritating me in way they normally do not.  And I find myself tempted, oh so tempted, to bend my intellect and considerable (and scathing) wit in their direction and take them down a few notches.

And then, I was reminded by a long loved friend.  Jane Austen wrote in Sense & Sensibility, "Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of a rational response."

And so, from a woman who could not possibly have conceived of computers, the internet, digital networks or the level of public stupidity which we seem to have created by all of those other things, I have been reminded yet again, to just let things go...a rational response is a considerable compliment for which one must prove oneself worthy.

Thank you, Jane.

A Weekend of Family Dinners

on 24 October 2011

I grew up in a family that had family dinner basically every night.  Almost always the same time, so we always knew as kids when we needed to be home.  My Dad would be home from work and Mom would have made something--animal, vegetable, grain--for us all to eat. 

And so I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that we're not actually very good about having family dinners in our household.  Don't get me wrong, we WANT to have family dinners, they just don't always pan out.  Chris works 5 evenings a week, so most nights it's just me and the Boy.  And to be honest, the Boy has become a dawdling eater, and in my pregnant state of high irritability, it's hard for me to sit with him every night while he eats dinner.  It's easier (and a lot less shrewish) for me to work in the kitchen (cleaning up), or to work on the computer while he eats in peace.

So imagine my surprise when we came to the end of this past weekend and had had, not 1 but TWO proper family dinners!  One of them by candlelight, per the Boy's request. What can I say, at 3 he's very romantic.

Saturday night, Chris cooked what can only be described as Midwestern home cookin' (hamburger steaks, onion gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans), the Boy ate green beans BY CHOICE for the first time EVER.  And Sunday night, I cooked, herb roasted chicken, stove top and green beans with brownies for dessert.

We'll just leave you all to wonder at how many Tums I had to eat to balance out the heartburn.  The heartburn that has been RELENTLESS for the past SEVEN months.

The point of this post (aside from a little boasting on my part, TWO family dinners is nothing to sneeze at in these parts), is this...I could actually tell the difference it made for the Boy.  He ate better, by which I mean, GREEN BEANS!  An actual BALANCED meal!  It was shocking...usually his dinner is composed of the Carbohydrate of the Moment and milk.  And he didn't dawdle like he does when it's just him and I.  He chewed with his mouth closed and made intelligible conversation with us.   He was enchanted by the candles and pleased with both his parents at the same time. 

Which leads me to the conclusion that, maybe there's some kind of magic to be found in family dinners.  I'm actually looking forward to the day when Chris can move back to day shift and we can have them more frequently than just the weekends.

This one goes out to the Nana

on 21 October 2011

My Mom went over to Tennessee to visit her sisters last week.  It coincided with our week to visit them and go to the temple, but luckily, my Dad was home and willing to step in and take care of our Boy so that Chris and I could still go and serve.

I explained to the Boy several times that Nana was at her sisters' so that he wouldn't be upset or confused when he walked into their house (like he OWNS the place) and didn't find her.  He asked about her on the way home, "Where Nana?  When she come home?  When she come to my house?"  It was adorable.  I explained that Nana would be home on Sunday and she would surely come to see him some time during the week.

And so Sunday came.  He was having a fit, not wanting to dress in church appropriate clothes, and I was manhandling the clothes over his limbs when he cried out, "Nana come home NOW!  Go to Nana's house!  Nana come HERE!"  I suppose he thought that Nana would intervene and allow him to go to church in his pajamas.  I chuckled and said that Nana wasn't home just yet, but that she would be home at some point during the day.

The day was gorgeous, so after church and naps, we went over to the botanical gardens for a short hike.  And I was finally able to document my child.  So for his Nana...some new pictures:





 He's becoming more opinionated about the way we go.  And he has a surprisingly good sense of direction.  He can tell me exactly how to go to his Aunt Sherry's and his Nana and Popper's house.  He limits his directions to THIS WAY!  or THAT WAY!  But if I went the way he told me, he'd get us there.  Impressive, no?


 There's this great picture of Chris walking with his best friend Jeff.  They're in high school and Jeff is slightly ahead of Chris and looking straight ahead, but Chris is glancing back over his shoulder.  I love that picture.  And this one reminded me of it...only more endearing.  My sweet man, he hates for anyone to be left behind.


The more the Boy grows, the more he's turning into a miniature version of Chris.  It's sweet and funny and lovely and I get to watch it every single day.  He loves ice cream like his Pa-Pa and his Popper.  He loves to read and color, but he hates to sing and he won't.  He'll dance if I put on a Jane Austen movie, but not if I only put on music.  He loves to run off and play but he bounces back every few minutes to say, "Mama, I need to love on you for a minute."  So he does and then he's off again.  It's like this bright star has taken up residence in our house...

A Belly, I has one...

on 19 October 2011

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding...


I thought I would celebrate the start of the 3rd trimester with a belly pic.  While it certainly feels huge, I'm assured by medical professionals that I'm measuring perfectly normal. 

(If you want to compare with the Boy, just click HERE.)

What continues to amaze me, though I don't know why--I knew that every pregnancy would be different, is just HOW different this pregnancy is from my pregnancy with the Boy.  The Boy used to roll.  And I mean roll, he would roll over, he would roll around, he would roll in circles.  Those were the movements that I was always able to feel and rely on.  The Girl?  Baby is literally a tiny dancer...it feels like Lord of the Dance took up residence in my WOMB.  And while it was pleasantly ticklish for some weeks it's becoming quite painful as she gets bigger and stronger.

Trust me, we're always grateful for it...even when it hurts.  It means she's alive and thriving, and for all the tears we shed to bring her here, we're always grateful to be reassured she's still with us.

For all the largess, the aches and pains and exhaustion, the fear and worry, we can't help but soak up this happy season.   We're just so excited to meet her.

Occupy your Mind

on 17 October 2011

Am I the only one disturbed by all these Occupy Protests?

Am I the only one who read my French and Russian history this morning?


Follow it through, people.  Follow it through to the END.  How exactly do you think these ideals are going to END?  With a guillotine?  With a Soviet system?  Did either of those turn out well for ANY of the people involved in them? 

I think not.

The more I see, the more I hear, the more frightened I become.  Someone get these people a history class.  Someone who speaks their language, because evidently I do not.  Is it fair that 1% of the population controls the bulk of the wealth, no it is not.  But who EVER said life was going to be FAIR of all things?  This is the single most asinine thing that I've seen yet, and I've seen some asinine things in my day.

Seriously, someone get them a history book.  Refresh their memories...start with September 5, 1793 and work your way up to 1917 and the October Revolution.

The Stolen Dream

on 14 October 2011

I broke a needle on the sewing machine the other day.

Which seemed like a sign that maybe I shouldn't sew for the day.  So Chris asked me to ride with him and the Boy to the bank and to get gas and to Guglhupf for bread.  So away we went.

I should mention that before the needle broke, I noticed one of the maintenance guys picking up litter outside our back window earlier in the morning, but naturally thought nothing of it.

So we stepped outside and I noticed that our little strip of patio was unusually neat.  As in the basil plant that my husband has been carefully tending in it's little terra cotta pot, was conspicuously GONE.  I mentioned it to Chris, "Hey, did you finally get rid of the basil?"  Which invited him to whip around the door and examine the empty patio before howling, "WHAT DID THEY DO WITH MY PLANT?!" 

At that point I started to giggle.  See, Chris' conception of a "plant" and everyone else may leave something to be desired.  My lovely friend Lisa had given us the basil as a cutting from her own plant.  We bought the stuff to use it and then forgot to eat with the basil and just ate the tomatoes and moz on it's own and one thing led to another and the basil sprouted.  Then Chris decided that he needed to PLANT the basil. 

So we stole the terra cotta planter from my sister and planted the basil. 

Now, you should probably know that Chris fancies himself a horticulturist.  But the man can't keep a plant alive to save his life.  He tends to LOVE them to death.  So between the hot-hot summer and the ice cold water that Chris kept using to water the basil, it wasn't looking too good.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I made the mistake of suggesting that maybe the basil was DEAD and we should just get rid of it.  Circumstances had reduced it to a yellow-ish stalk sticking up in a cracked planter.  But Chris insisted that basil would come BACK next spring and we should keep it on all winter long.

So keep it, we did.

But as a testament to how pitiful the plant was looking, the maintenance guy must of mistaken it for GARBAGE and hauled it away.

Chris was outraged.  As we were getting in the car he was ranting, "That was going to be our first plant at our house when we buy a house!  They STOLE MY DREAM!"  He continued to rant the rest of the way to the bank, insisting that it really wasn't about the plant, but the DREAM, man!  The DREAM! 

Part 1: DONE

on 12 October 2011

We're done.

With Part 1 of the Nesting.  Including moving furniture around and a massive deep  clean that took all. morning. long.  (I know that doesn't sound like a long time, but when you inhabit fewer than 1000 square feet, for cleaning to take ALL morning, is A LOT of cleaning.)

We shall not discuss the horrors of that deep clean.  Apparently, when there's something that I don't want to do (like DUSTING), I'm really REALLY good at ignoring it.

But now that I'm looking around at my immaculate apartment, it makes me so happy to see.

So what's on deck for Part 2?

Well, Part 2 is what most of you would probably think of when you think of nesting.  Things like installing the car seat and washing up loads of baby clothes and diapers, setting up the bassinet and bouncy seat.  And Part 2 is going to wait until after Thanksgiving.

I have to say, I'm relieved to have Part 1 done.  I still have sewing hanging over my head, like a crafty guillotine,  but I feel like one big, massive job is done and now I can rationalize some sitting around and reading blogs and just relaxing.

How are we celebrating?  I'm so glad you asked.

It's cloudy and gray here without being chilly, so we're celebrating with my sister's awesome apple cake and caramel sauce.  It's DIVINE.



Stay Tuned:  Next week--a proper Belly shot.  I figure, entrance into the 3rd trimester warrants a little evidential support.

Project Hell

on 10 October 2011

So I mentioned before that I've been sewing and knitting quite a bit for Baby but also for a few Christmas gifts.  And as I was sweating profusely through what I thought would be an easy project I realized something that I've learned the hard way, and since I'm nice, I thought I would share this lesson with all of you.

When you find a tutorial online for something that you want to make.  Be sure you READ the tutorial thoroughly before you just up and decide "Hey!  That looks SO easy, I can totally do that!"  Because some things that LOOK really easy, in reality are a pain the arse and probably not worth the toil.

Except...

With every project, regardless of the sweat and the stress is causes (I don't enjoy sewing.  I really do try to enjoy it, but it just stresses me out to no end.  I'll keep my knitting thankyouverymuch), I can't help adding up the cost the item would be in the store and keeping a running total of the GOBS of money that I have saved by NOT purchasing it in the store and instead, making it at home.  I wish I could be all wholesome and talk about the whole handmade with LOVE thing...but the truth of the matter is that it's just so much CHEAPER to make than to buy.

And so, in all likelihood, I will continue my love-hate relationship with Project Hell, because at the end of the day, I prefer to keep MORE of my money.

I'm nearly done with the sewing...I've finished off a few of the knitting projects, and I can share the ones for Baby with you, but the Christmas ones will have to wait for Christmas since...well, ALL of the recipients read this blog.  (I can't wait to show you Chris' Christmas socks!)  Once things are done, I'm going to post some pictures here, if for no other reason than just to prove that while I haven't been writing, I HAVE been doing SOMETHING productive.

I mean besides growing the Girl.

A list of unconnected thoughts, or an ordinary Friday

on 07 October 2011

I made an enormous pot of Chicken noodle soup last night for dinner and it was so good I also went and baked up some cookie dough that I had frozen a few days before.  The whole deal made me feel like an uber wife.

***

My child also asked me to build him a train track, so I did.  And it was AWESOME.  So awesome it made me feel like an uber mom.  And then he proceeded to ignore the track and trains completely and read books on the couch.  Why is that?  Why ask me to build him a track with which he is not going to play?  The 3 year old mind, it is a mystery to me.


***

I've been rereading Pride and Prejudice.  For some reason when I don't feel well, I always turn to Jane Austen.  I'm not sure why, but it's as comforting as the aforementioned pot of chicken noodle soup.  Anyway, usually I read it when I want something to read that I don't really need to pay attention to, for I have read it so many times that I have parts of it memorized.  Anyway, I've been thoroughly enjoying it this time through and it got me thinking...well, reminiscing really. 

I've seen the 1995 A&E version of Pride and Prejudice more times than I could possibly count.  I've been watching it for YEARS, easily since it was released.  Anyway, the funny thing is, when I pull it out and put it on the over-riding memory that comes back to me is sitting on our futon watching P&P while nursing a very newly born Boy.  I can't imagine how many times I watched it, well, P&P and also Our Mutual Friend, but still.  That's the memory that comes back to me.  So I suppose it's no small wonder that the Boy still loves it when I put it on.

Aggressive Nesting

on 06 October 2011

I'm generally a nester.

I'm quite particular about my living environment, I like things just so.  I wouldn't say that I'm fastidious, but particular.  I like a certain ambiance, a specific feeling that's relaxed and cozy and tidy without being pristine.  And so, I'm sort of perpetually nesting, pregnant or not.

That said, ye be warned if ye enter into Burnstopia when I happen to be pregnant because the Nesting?  Oh, it intensifies in a BIG way.

I've been purging the apartment for the past 2 weeks or so.  I started it in anticipation of moving, but it was just so satisfying to sort and put away and box up for storage and reorganize, that I haven't really been able to stop.  Well, I finished the majority of the purging.  The sorting and putting away and reorganizing?  Not so much.

Though, I'm pretty sure that Chris would pay anyone good money if they could get me to stop.

The nesting this time around has taken an aggressive turn.  Not that I'm going to hack off limbs if anyone gets in my way...it's more that it's a BIG job because it involves a variety of factors.

We're still in a relatively small space, and yet, our brood is expanding, so the reorganization is necessarily aggressive in order to open up as much space as possible.  We also need to move the Boy into a twin bed.  I know, I know....he's THREE and still sleeping in a crib.  Anyway...so we're not just reorganizing STUFF, we're shifting furniture all around.  To say nothing of the fact that there is NO where in our bedroom for a bassinet of any kind.

So last weekend, we shifted all of our storage around--I'm SO happy with how it turned out.  We also hauled off, I am not exaggerating, a CAR LOAD of stuff to the goodwill.  And this week we're working on shifting the furniture around.  Once that's done, I'm going to set about redecorating the Boy's room.  The era of the Tolkien room is over.  Alas, he's now old enough to actually CARE about his bedroom.  And since he's been a reluctant customer of the Big Boy Bed, I'm hoping that some fun new sheets and a bedspread will sweeten the deal.  (His aunt Susie gifted him with some Thomas the Tank Engine wall stickers, so I think we might be heading down that route.)

And lastly, once all of the above is completed I can begin to Deep Clean.  Since we've been planning on moving, we've just sort of been survival cleaning for the past few weeks.  The place could use a decent scrub down.

This is the part where you all feel very sorry for Chris, and very relieved that you don't live with me.

Miracles

on 03 October 2011

I believe in miracles.

After all, I live with one every single day.  It's impossible to spend much time around the Boy and not acknowledge something otherworldly about him.

So that I believe in Divine Intervention in the following story should not surprise any of you.

***

Last Friday I stopped in the leasing office of our complex to pick up a package.  As I walked in the door one of the leasing agents said, "Speak of the Devil!"  And I (unaccustomed to having people admit they've been talking about me) said, "Uh-oh.  What?"  She then went on to ask if there was any way Chris and I would consider staying in our apartment, we're such good tenants, they hate to lose us, blah blah blah.  Then she said, "What if I could offer you a zero increase on your rent for 6 months?  Would you think about it?"  And I stood there and tried really hard not to cry.

Naturally, I said that I would take it to Chris and she should call me when she heard back from her senior manager about the zero increase and we'd make a decision then. 

I talked to Chris about it and his reaction was along the lines of, "HECK YEAH we'd stay!"  So then we waited.

The leasing agent called back, of course, they couldn't make the ZERO increase work, but she had talked her senior manager down to just $40.  Could we pay $40 more a month in rent?  And no, it wasn't perfect.  It wasn't the ideal.  But it was a way out of Moving Hell.  So I said I would talk to Chris.  And after chatting over the pros and cons and mixed feelings (we're still not crazy about the management of our complex, we're not wild about many of the clientele, the rent is still outrageous for what our apartment is, and the way they distribute utilities is an absolute SCAM), we decided to stay for another 6 months. 

Of course we did.

Because if any of you have been reading Burnstopia for very long you know us by now.  You know that we speak hastily, even recklessly, but we act conservatively.  It saves us having to move while pregnant.  It saves the expense of an additional move, it provides us with an additional 6 months in which to house hunt, and at a still workable rate of cost.  Of course, we're staying put.

And all of this got me thinking about miracles.  I think human beings stopped believing in miracles because we expected them to be perfect, to solve ALL of our problems, or better to make them all just go away.  And what living with the Boy has taught me is that miracles are rarely (if ever) perfect.  They seldom meet all of our would-be specifications.  But they are ENOUGH. 

I've also been pondering a lot on this notion of sufficient.  Just having enough.  Not more, not less, just enough.  And while I still wish for an excess of energy, or time, or money...I'm content with this little miracle just as it is.  It's a huge burden off of our collective plates.  Chris came home from work Friday night positively cheerful, which he hadn't been all week--because looking at apartment listings will do that to a man.



And now...I can NEST.