Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pants for years to come...

"Babies are always more trouble than you thought, and more wonderful."
-Charles Osgood

In my last post I mentioned my struggle to find brown pants for babies. After looking at several local stores with no luck, I wondered if I could make some for Silas. In my search online for a tutorial, I discovered the treasure that is Brindille and Twig sewing patterns... so many cute clothes for little people.

After much debate, I chose the Cuff Pants pattern as my first purchase. At 3/4 yard per pair, it didn't take much fabric. So I stopped by JoAnn's to pick up a few different knit options.

There were only five pieces to cut out per pair, and the photographs that Brindille and Twig provides in the directions made piecing them together a breeze. I could have completed a pair in a single sitting if it wasn't for a baby boy who seemed to always wake up from his nap right before I sewed the ankle cuffs in. The ankle cuffs in the little baby sizes were so small; it took all of my concentration to attach without sewing each cuff to itself.

After completing the first two, I went digging through my fabric stash for more knit fabric. I was excited to find some red fabric leftover from a failed Superman costume in college (don't ask!). I probably wouldn't have chosen red at the store, but it turns out that Silas has several cute onesies that match.

I'm one proud mama when Silas wears his new pants. And, what's even better is that because the pattern is sized up to 6T, he can have custom pants for years to come!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Two Months with Silas...

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."

Where did this month go?? With Rob back at work full-time, Silas and I spent the days (and usually part of the nights!) together. We have established a morning routine, and then we often ventured out in the afternoons... there were groceries to buy, friends to meet for lunch, and even a tooth filling to be replaced.

What Silas is up to?
Silas is still nursing well... and is gaining weight each week when we weigh in at our breastfeeding moms' meet-up, despite the fact that he spits up after every meal. We have burp rags stashed all over the house and go through them like they're candy.

A couple of weeks ago we noticed a number of red bumps on Silas' face. After asking Dr. Google, I "diagnosed" it as baby acne and tried not to worry about it. But mamas are really good at worrying, and when his earlobe swelled up, I decided to bring him to the pediatrician. She officially diagnosed him with dermatitis (not super helpful), but said she thought it was a combination of acne and cradle cap that had spread to his face. So I attacked it with daily baths, the Mustela regimen, and Head and Shoulders shampoo. Each day we scrutinized it, hoping it looked a little better, and then all of a sudden, one day it did!

Rob and I had gotten used to a few 4-hour stretches of sleep at night, but at 6.5 weeks, Silas reverted back to 2-hour cycles. Wondering if we were just waking up to his noises (he is a loud sleeper, in addition to being a loud eater!), we decided to try moving him to his room to sleep at night. Two nights later, he only woke once in the night!! Coincidentally, the next week at my moms' meet-up, the other moms were discussing a 6-week sleep regression, which sounded exactly like what we experienced. (SPOILER! On the night he turned two months old, he slept all the way through the night!!)

Silas is much more alert this month, tracking a toy with his eyes and finding himself in a mirror. He loves when we sing or make funny faces right in his face. This boy likes to move... he loves when we rock him hard, sway the stroller back and forth, or bounce him up and down.

From Mama's perspective...
I almost lost it one night as Silas woke up every two hours to eat. I was feeling completely overwhelmed and at a loss about his rash, the spit up, and the lack of sleep. And, then on top of that, I felt guilty about leaving Silas "on his own" while I tried to get something accomplished during the day. As the tears flowed, Rob reassured me that I'm "a great mom, and there's no doubt that I'm spending quality time with him." Just hearing someone else say that seemed to pull me from my funk.

I'm spending my last few uninterrupted days as a stay-at-home mom before I go back to work. Although I know that I am going to miss Silas during the day, I'm telling myself that a piece of me is ready to go back. Right now my head is so overwhelmed by the logistics (how in the world will we ever get out of the house by 7:15?!?!) that I have barely had a chance to think about the emotional challenges. But occasionally in the last couple of days, I find myself also wondering/hoping/worrying if his teachers will know/notice/care about all of his little routines/preferences/dislikes.

I love that I am learning what calms Silas down when he gets worked up... usually holding him sideways, belly to belly while bouncing him with a little twist and patting his back. However, it's still a little surreal that he is here to stay. One night I told Rob that it feels like we're just baby-sitting for an extended stay and that a part of me thinks he is going to leave. Rob joked, "where do you think he's going to go? He hasn't learned to open his thumb from his fist. He won't be hitchhiking anytime soon."

A few of Silas' favorites...

  1. Gerber Pre-fold Diapers : With all of the spit up, we needed to bring out the big guns. I bought two packs of cloth diapers to give us a little more time between loads of laundry. These guys are super absorbent and more functional than fancy, so there's no hesitation to get them dirty.
  2. Mustela Cradle Cap Regimen Duo and Head & Shoulders Medicated Shampoo : To fight Silas' wicked case of cradle cap, I attacked it with daily baths with the Mustela Foam shampoo and nightly massages with the Stelaker cream. The combination of that and Head & Shoulders shampoos every other morning seemed to do the trick!
  3. Brindille & Twig Cuff Pants : Silas is officially out of newborn clothes this month. He has several cute onesies, but needed brown pants to match. The stores seemed to have black, gray, and navy, but no brown. But I am my mother's daughter, so I bought this pdf sewing pattern, a couple of yards of knit fabric, and made my own. And, the best part about these patterns is that they can be sized up to 6T. I suspect many more pants for years to come!
  4. Gulliver Crib : This month Silas started sleeping in his own room, in his own bed. We are quite happy with this affordable and modern-looking crib from IKEA, and Silas doesn't seem to mind that he's not sleeping in a designer crib.
  5. 4moms Infant Tub : Silas loves taking baths with the 4moms tub. And, that's a good thing because he took many baths this month as we treated his cradle cap. I love that the tub has a temperature sensor so that I don't have to worry about neither freezing nor scalding my baby. I also love how the water flows through the tub to drain the dirty water.
  6. Infantino Activity Gym/Playmat : While I clean, sew, or am otherwise engaged around the house, I often set Silas down on this mat to play for a few minutes. He loves talking to the "baby in the mirror" and occasionally he catches his hand on the toy rings which makes the gym wiggle and the "baby" dance.

    Thursday, April 02, 2015

    Second labor of love... my pregnancy journal/scrapbook

    "Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain – your life will never be the same."
    -Catherine Jones

    In the last year, I've not only been growing a baby, but also a second labor of love. Starting in the early morning hours of a Saturday in May 2014, I curled beneath the sheets in the light of my phone to record my excitement of seeing two lines on a pregnancy test. For the next nine months I jotted down my notes, memories, and feelings about my journey to motherhood in an Evernote document. And, for the last couple of weeks I have brought those words to life in a most treasured scrapbook album, "Expecting Baby B..."

    I had a bold and graphic 3-ring binder from Target and a variety of Bo Bunny page protectors waiting in the wings for the perfect project. Using that as my framework, I first designed the album in Adobe InDesign... the words from my journal illustrated by photos and ephemera from along the way.

    Last year's One Little Word was "authentic," and I gave myself permission to feel all of the feelings. The entries in my journal include it all: the excitement, the joy, the fear, the surreal. While it is ultimately the story of me and my journey, someday when Silas reads it, I hope he feels the love that we had for him since the very beginning.

    A pack of three coordinating file folders became section dividers for the three trimesters.

    I used a combination of full-size (8.5"x11") page protectors and smaller (8"x9") page protectors, depending on the length of the stories. The 3"x4" pockets were perfect for iPhone photos, including screenshots of text messages as shown above.

    I included swatches of the fabrics along with the receipt from our trip to Mary Jo's to tell the the story of how the nursery came together.

    I slipped the ultrasound photos into the pockets and even saved the "It's a Boy" flag that we stuck in our doughnut to celebrate.

    The album is told chronologically for the most part. I included reports from each doctor's visit and interspersed letters written to Baby B throughout.

    I also saved brochures and important paperwork from doctor's visits.

    We were so grateful for all of the thoughtful gifts from friends and family, and the slips of paper in the pockets above can be removed and unfolded to see the entire gift list.

    I concluded the journal with my three-page birth story and a few of Silas' first photos.

    But, of course the journey has just begun... I hope to continue Silas' story in a similar baby book/book about his first year.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2015

    Silas' Birth Announcements

    "Don't ever tell the mother of a newborn that her baby's smile is just gas."
    -Jill Woodhull

    Some of the best parts about having a new baby... decorating a nursery and designing birth announcements!! Thanks to the inspiration from my "Welcome to the World" Pinterest board, my imagination ran wild as I brainstormed ideas for Silas' birth announcements. 

    I wanted to design something unique and special, just for him. I wanted to use some of the great shots from his newborn photoshoot by Erin Drago Photography. I also wanted something affordable with relatively quick turnaround. And, of course, I was willing to DIY, but wanted something that still looked polished and professional.

    Jamaica Edgell's post about her Love Cards on Paislee Press showed up in my blog reader right on time. I loved the idea of a vellum overlay of text! It was just the inspiration I needed to get serious about making this project come to life.

    Now that the cards should have arrived at their destinations, let me show you what I came up with...

    Source list (if you're curious...):

    I read online that you can send a birth announcement to the White House, using this address:
    President Barack Obama
    Greetings Office Room 39
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave
    Washington, DC 20500

    Hopefully we'll receive a "signed" greeting back... what a cool memento for his baby book!
    You don't want to know how many tries it took to get this photo...
    Sorry for any slobber on your envelope, Mr. President!

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