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On a More Positive Note!

Still no baby, but I have been busy the last couple days which has helped my mind a lot!

Last week, Kiddo1 received his shipment of Titanic memorabilia. He was very excited about getting these commemorative coins and reproductions of Titanic stuff. We came up with the idea to frame some of the cool stuff so he could always look at it without having to get it out of a box or something. Yay project for me! I finished it up last night while he was at a sleepover. We still need to get it hung (always a sticking point for me!) but here’s a picture we took of it just now…

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I used a new mating technique where the mats are raised a little by another layer of mat board hidden underneath the other two layers. Difficult to describe, easier to show. I think it makes the mat a little more interesting.

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Also during Kiddo1’s sleepover away, Mr. Handsome and I got in a date night! Probably the last one we’ll have for awhile! We went out to dinner downtown and stopped for some ice cream to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Yum!

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Then today I not only fit in two, TWO, naps, but we also took Kiddo1 and his sleepover buddy downtown with us for lots of walking and to see some sand sculptures that were being built for a festival this weekend. I had no idea how hoping downtown is during the week! We usually only venture down there on the weekends, and I figured those were pretty busy. I guess all those people working come out of their buildings and make it quite a busy place!

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We stopped by a toy store, too, and the kids got a little crazy with some ride-on toys. Normally I would not condone this behavior (I swear!) but it was pretty cute and the store was dead. Then the kids crashed, which was hilarious.

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I’m glad Kiddo1 got some energy out. He seems to have been a bit anxious himself these last few days. He releases his anxiety by basically going a little nuts and bouncing all over the house. We go to the park, get out to museums and generally “run him” at least once a day, but right now that isn’t really cutting it. I really hope his extra energy is due to nerves (that sounds bad, but stay with me) and not some kind of energy surge in general because that will make a house with a newborn kind of crazy! We’ll still be able to get him out of the house, though, and with family here he’ll have lots to do. He insists that he wants to just stay home after the baby is born, but I’m sure he’ll get bored enough to want to go out with them after a couple days.

So not a bad past 24 hours or so. I’m feeling more zen this afternoon than I was this morning. It helps to be accomplishing things, like the framing. Now I must find something else to create!

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Friday Update: Week 40

At 40 weeks, baby is said to be about 20 inches long, the average length of a newborn. It is difficult to find 20″ objects that aren’t tires, computer monitors or TVs. So this week I settled on something way more glamorous: a piece of 20-inch carry-on luggage, which apparently is pretty standard but these little bags can go up to 22 inches. Watch out for that.

What a different kind of week it has been! I have been out on “maternity” leave since Monday. I use the quotes because it hardly feels like there’s much maternity-ing going on, as there is still no baby to care for.

I started the week by finishing a project, then lapsing into complete and total impatience and frustration, only to end with the resolve to come to terms with the wait and just be patient. Yes, I’m only 40 weeks but given Kiddo1’s early appearance at 38 weeks (ish) and the fact that everyone has been telling me about how quick the second one comes, making it to 40 weeks has been quite surprising.

I’ve been feeling much better the past couple days. Yesterday was another good day. We went out to get our car tire fixed – it has had a nail in it for the past, I don’t know, couple months, and we finally decided it’d be safe to just fix it already. It was no trip to a museum or anything, but we did get out and had a nice walk to lunch while the work was being done. Later we ran some errands, got some dinner and generally had a nice day as a happy family.

Also, Kiddo1 gave me a great project to start working on. He’s a big fan of the Titanic and a couple weeks ago he suckered us into chipping in money for him to buy some Titanic coins and memorabilia. It all arrived yesterday after a little over a week of torturous waiting (we were waiting buddies, but his package arrived before mine!). We put all the items out on the floor and decided we should frame it all. We’ve been talking about redoing the wall art in his room anyway.

So now I have a fun framing project to get started on! After we fixed the tire yesterday we went to the art supply store to get the mats. We picked up a frame just before dinner, too. Tonight I’ll lay some stuff out as ideas for him to decide on tomorrow. This is a great distraction for me, I don’t think he even realizes it.

I also need to work on finding something to wear to my friend’s wedding tomorrow which I’m super excited to be attending (yay!!) but attending pregnant (boo). Being pregnant for it isn’t a problem in-and-of-itself, I just so thought I’d be bringing a baby along to this event! I had an outfit planned for it and everything! Now it’s back to the drawing board with only a day to figure it out! Eeek!

Some standard stuff:

  • Total weight gain: 35 pounds, I think. I haven’t been as diligent with weighing in this week. But, given the next bullet point, I’d say two pounds gained this week is fair.
  • Cravings: Anything. Everything? It all sounds good and I want to eat it. I don’t feel physically restricted about the amount of food I can consume anymore. Perhaps that means she really has dropped? I have no idea…
  • Coolest symptom: Just a general physical well-being, I suppose. Other than struggling for the first time with sleep, I physically feel fantastic. My mind is starting to feel fantastic again after a rough couple days, and it is getting better the more I have other things to focus on (besides the fact that we’re at D day and still no baby!).
  • Lamest symptom: Teenage boy farts are back big time. Mr. Handsome and Kiddo1 don’t know what the hell is going on. And if we’re out I can’t blame it on the dog! (Just kidding Max! I always fess up.) At the science museum the other day, Mr. Handsome says, “Someone in here in dropping more bombs than the Air Force!” while looking at me accusingly.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes 180 minutes): I got in a session of water aerobics and two 45-minute yoga sessions. Score! With the hours and hours of walking added to that I’d say the goal has been met. Oh and all the vacuuming and cleaning counts for cardio too, right?

Baby2, where are you? Here’s what she’s up to, courtesy babycenter.com:

It’s hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but the average newborn weighs about 7 1/2 pounds (a small pumpkin) and is about 20 inches long. His or her skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit if it’s a snug fit through the birth canal during labor. This so-called “molding” is the reason your baby’s noggin may look a little conehead-ish after birth. Rest assured – it’s normal and temporary.

The New and Improved Mobile

Even though the nursery was finished a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t entirely happy with the mobile I created. So, I improved it. And probably just in time, too! I was having some mild contractions the other night when I was hanging the last few balls. (One thing about this project that I will miss – all the awesome ball jokes Mr. Handsome and I have been slinging at each other.)

For the before pics, check out the nursery post linked above. I’m focusing on the after here!

photo-5 I added 4 new balls: two yellow ones, a purple and a turquoise.

For the two new yellow ones, I used a different technique than with the first ball, which took almost three whole days to complete. These last two went a lot faster! I finished them in about a day. I took a strip of 2″-wide fabric, folded it in half (hot-dog style) and wrapped it around the balls, securing with a dab of hot glue every few inches. I should have taken some pictures during production so I could share a little tutorial, but I was really focused on just getting these done! I was able to use up some leftover yellow fabric (that I had planned on making a crib sheet out of, but then I liked the red sheets too much).

For the purple balls, I took away the one very textured ball I had up and replaced it with two simpler balls. They’re just white paper lanterns covered in purple tissue paper by using Mod Podge glue. They took about an hour for the set – way, way easier than covering the balls in tiny bits of crumpled up tissue paper like I did for the first purple ball I used. I lost some texture but saved myself from losing some sanity, so win-win.

The turquoise ball was just a leftover that I hadn’t hung yet. Now I have 11 balls strung up there. I hung them with simple hooks and some thick white sewing thread (the quilting kind, extra strong). The yellow ball in the middle is extra reinforced between two hooks and lots of thread because it is super heavy!

I feel really finished with the decorating now. I’m not even itching to do any other projects, which must mean we’re super close to meeting our little girl, right?!

Here are some more views of the ball-o-rama:

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A baby’s-eye view

 Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

A Nursery Is Born!

After a few months of on-and-off labor, a nursery for Baby2 has been born! I’ve worked on little projects for this space when I have time in the evenings and on the weekends (which really isn’t too much free time now that I look back!). There were lots of little projects that led up to the completion, too.

Like I said in my last post about completed nursery projects, I know that Baby2 doesn’t really care what kind of space she sleeps in and gets changed in, as long as it’s safe and warm! But I didn’t get to do much nursery decorating when Kiddo1 was born so I guess I just wanted the experience of making a baby space this time. So I started with a couple simple projects and, knowing me, things quickly ballooned from there! I can say that I’m at a point where I’m comfortable stopping (except for maybe the mobile, below!) so it’s time to show off what I’ve been able to finish!

Our space is small, as the only room we’ve got right now is in Mr. Handsome’s and my room, but Baby2 would likely stay in our room for the first few months anyway. Perhaps this winter or next spring we’ll look at getting ourselves into a bigger place!

Photobucket Anyway, there are two bits of walls that Baby2 gets. On the changing table side, I first framed these two Degas posters back in late March during Spring Break. While that was only three months ago, it seems like ages!

I picked up the small lamp from a thrift store a month (?) or so ago; I cleaned it up and added a shade which I covered with red tissue paper (using Mod Podge, which is probably now my most favorite adhesive) to match the paper lanterns over the crib.

I finished the dresser over Memorial Day weekend, complete with pink drawer insides! The top right drawer is stuffed with cloth diaper prefolds (on their second round of washing prep, out of five rounds! More about that later). I finished the changing pad cover just a couple weeks ago – luckily I made two so Baby2 won’t feel guilty pooping on them (because, you know, I’m sure she’d care about that).

PhotobucketAlso, I hung up a little hook for a hanger so I can hang up her outfit of the day (well, the outfit she’ll be starting in, at least)! One of baby’s very first outfits is all hung up and ready to go! Well, I still have to wash them all, but I’ll get to that…

Speaking of clothes, how cute are all these?! I found tiny little hangers for them and made myself a small rod to fit in our IKEA bookshelves so I can display their cuteness.  Many thanks to the friends who have given us such adorable stuff! Baby girl clothes are so much fun to buy. It’s a good thing I can’t make up my mind about how the weather will be and what sizes to buy her because I would have WAY more clothes at this point than I do.

PhotobucketOn the other side of the room is Baby2’s sleeping space. The IKEA crib was outfitted with a crib skirt back during Spring Break. I got the fabric on Etsy and spent the next several months covering everything with it! Other than the crib skirt and the changing pads, I covered some throw pillows and a Boppy pillow with it too. There’s a small amount left over so we’ll see what gets covered next!

The Picasso poster was the very first nursery project I finished way back in early March (when I also got the inspiration to do a huge mobile!). It was also my first attempt at framing. I framed three more posters after that! I have a couple more I’d like to do someday, but they aren’t getting done anytime soon!

PhotobucketHere’s a baby’s-eye-view of the giant mobile! I’m still not completely finished with it, but I’m allowing myself to call it done for now. It has been way more work than it probably needed to me, mostly because I make things more complicated than they need to be!

These balls started way back during Spring Break, too! I finished the yellow one then. I’d like to make another small yellow one, but we’ll see how much I feel like doing that over the next few weeks… The purple one is small but so are the little bits of crumpled up tissue paper that are covering it. Making the ball covering takes so much time. I’m definitely not making another purple ball!

The red balls were super easy, just some cheap, white paper lanterns, red tissue paper, Mod Podge and a couple hours of gluing fun. The turquoise balls came as is.

PhotobucketHere were are as a family of three… and a half! Not too much longer and there will be a baby to occupy this little space.

Yesterday was also Kiddo1’s last day of third grade (yikes!). I always take the first and last days of school off from work, which is why I had the extra bit of time to get the final touches finished up. I’m pretty glad it’s at a point where I can call it finished!

I Sewed!

My medium is typically paper, not fabric, so sewing is a little daunting to me. Fabric stretches and moves around too much! Perhaps that’s why I’ve put off my sewing projects for so long! But this weekend I swallowed my pride, took out the machine and got some stuff done!

I finished four projects and seven items this weekend (that’s the great thing about sewing – it does go fairly quickly once you actually get going!): two changing pad covers, three throw pillows, a crib sheet and a Boppy pillow cover (I finished the crib skirt over spring break). I feel such a sense of relief getting these projects behind me! I get so into the whole “project mode” thing that I take on too much and I’m too stubborn to back down. Another thing: I understand that this nursery isn’t necessarily for Baby2. It is and it isn’t. Yeah, it’s for her in that she needs a place to sleep and all that, but she can’t appreciate the colors and fabrics and what not: all that is for me, let’s face it.

With that disclaimer aside, on to the finished project pictures! I can’t figure out why they’re coming out a little blurry, but you get the picture (haha). The red also looks really bright in these pictures but it’s actually a pretty deep red…

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The dresser was finished last weekend and we hung a mirror on the wall over it because babies like to look at themselves (and hopefully this will distract her and keep her from wiggling too much!).

Since it makes me happy to review lists, here’s what I planned, what I’ve done and what’s left to do in the nursery:

  • DONE: Make matching pillows out of the crib skirt fabric (three 12″ square pillows and one bolster-type long, round pillow).
  • DONE: crib sheets (although I only made one crib sheet instead of three because fabric is almost more expensive than just buying sheets but I really wanted a red one to match everything. I’ll buy two white ones to use a back-ups).
  • DONE: Attach wheels to the bottom of the crib to make it easier to move around the tiny nursery space.
  • DONE: Find and refinish a dresser to use as a changing table.
  • TO DO: I bought a lamp from a thrift store that I’m fixing up a bit (a small lamp for the changing table so we don’t have to turn on the overhead light during nighttime changes/feedings).
  • TO DO: I’m in the midst of hanging the paper lanterns (some bought some made) for the giant mobile piece.

While I can’t wait to finish, I also wonder what will occupy my time and thoughts once I’m done and have no baby yet! I guess I’ll just have to relax or something!

Scones and Dresser

In Friday’s update post I promised to post about some scones I made, so I’m finally getting to that now! It’s been a busy weekend… but, first – the scones!

I found this receipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog and I have reposted it here. It is mostly a verbatim repost but I did modify it slightly after perusing the comments.

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Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones

1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/2 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar*
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp vanilla
2 cup (136 grams or 4 3/4 ounces) fresh raspberries
3/4 cup (189 grams) greek yogurt (6 oz)*
1/3 cup (79 ml) heavy cream

* parts that I changed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks.

Without a pastry blender: Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Roughly chop the raspberries on a cutting board and stir them into the butter-flour mixture. (Mine turned very pink by adding the raspberries this early. In my next batch I’ll probably add them later so the dough is more marbley like the photos on Smitten Kitchen’s post.)

Both methods: Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula. Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s best to cool them about halfway before eating them, so they can set a bit more. I know, way to be a big meanie, right?

Do ahead (I took this route so they could be fresh-baked in the morning): Scones are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you’re prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than one day in advance, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the frozen, unbaked scones, just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.

I also added the lemon icing for some more sweetness, because even though I doubled the sugar in the original recipe these scones still weren’t sweet enough for me! This is my own recipe:

Lemon Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk

Adjust the milk-to-powdered sugar ratio to achieve the desired consistency. I wanted more of a glaze than a fluffy frosting so I used a teeny bit more milk. Just stir and stir until the lumps smooth out and it is ready to go!

……..

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppIn other news, this dresser that I have been working on forEVER is finally finished! I’ve been sanding this thing sporadically over the last month or so (this picture was taken after I had sanded half of the drawers). My goal was to get it all painted by this weekend because the baby stuff we’re accumulating needs a home!

It took some serious perseverance and carefully watching of the weather but it all got done. The weather this weekend was so unpredictable. It looked like it was going to rain but aside from an intense thunderstorm on Saturday night we stayed mostly dry. I started painting on Saturday around 2 and brought everything in around 7:30, about 30 minutes before the storm started. Whew!

Anyway, here it is! I added some glass-like pulls that I thought we a bit more girly and, as a last-minute addition, I painted the insides of the drawers hot pink. The pink doesn’t really go with the rest of the color scheme but I think it’s a nice surprise when you open the drawers.

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On Sunday I applied a coat of sealer so the paint won’t scratch too easily and I let it sit outside to air out for awhile. As a result of all that work I rested a ton today, taking a nice long nap on the couch and generally neglecting all my duties and other projects. This week I’ll be sewing so hopefully I’ll have a post in a week about more accomplishments!

Friday Update: Week 33

apple-alu-keyboardBaby is 17 inches long this week! The keyboard that came with my iMac is also 17″ long. I’m currently typing this post on my iMac but I usually use my iBook because, well, I like to sit on the sofa and be comfortable. My iBook won’t turn on and that is upsetting! It’s only five years old! Stay with me buddy. Although I would love a new one of these! (Haha NOT going to happen!)

Another week down, only seven more to go! Seven! But I am focusing more on the weekend ahead. I have so much to accomplish – thank goodness I have three days in which to do it!

  • My number one project is finishing up the dresser that I’m refinishing. I’ve been sanding it all down by hand with little strips of sand paper because I’m too cheap to buy even one of those  sander things. I’ve been trying to wrap that up for days but it keeps raining this week so I’m stuck. I can’t sand inside! Then I need to fill all the scratches and dents with wood putty so it looks all smooth and pretty again (I found this dresser on Craig’s List so it’s a little beat up). Then I will paint the whole thing and attach new drawer pulls that are all pretty and girly. Finally a place to put all the clothes and diapers I’ve been accumulating!
  • I also need to finish the giant mobile I’ve been toiling over for weeks. Most of it is installed on the ceiling, I just need to adjust a few things and decide whether or not to make just one more yellow poof like the one I made over Spring Break (which I will try to do but after I finish a plethora of other projects).
  • Then there’s the sewing. Oh so much sewing. I want to make pillows, a cover for our Boppy pillow, covers for the changing pad and a couple sheets.
  • Finally, I found a cute little lamp at a thrift store for three bucks so I’ve got to fix it up and get it in place. Plus install a couple new mirrors to replace the full-length mirror I had to take down in order to get Baby2’s furniture in the right places. Aaand hopefully take pictures of everything so I can write a post about our finished nursery. Don’t hold your breath, my list is daunting!

Not to mention getting in some quality time with family and friends too! My moms group has an outing to the “What to Expect” movie so fingers crossed that people actually show up!

I’m excited for the weekend but I will look back on this week for just a few things:

  • Total weight gain: 26-27 pounds, the scale moves. Not surprising given the below cravings, (lack of) exercise and baby’s own half-pound gain this week!
  • Cravings: Still smoothies, I love them and it is unfortunate that a Jamba Juice is so close to work, but my old boss kept talking about wanting scones the other day and how I should make some (I’m like the team baker) so I did make some this morning and I wanted to eat all of them. I will post pictures later today (no time now!). I’m trying not to go crazy over carbs since my midwife gave me the okay to eat more of them!
  • Coolest symptom: It’s difficult for me to think of something other than baby kicks because she’s moving ALL THE TIME now. But generally I feel great, physically (so I should be exercising, dang it!). I’m sleeping very well provided I’m not woken by my bladder or other interruptions because I have not been able to return to sleep in those cases. I’ve had some extra early mornings at the office because of this.
  • Lamest symptom: I’m plagued by small, annoying things really. These things don’t really bother me all that much so I must remind myself that things could be a lot (a LOT) worse so be grateful. Grateful I tell ya! Still short on space between my belly and boobs, but I’m either getting used to it or it’s suddenly better. The midwife says I’m carrying really low and I was like. “What the hell are you talking about?!” But after looking at my pictures, I know she’s right, baby is pretty low.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): This week I have nothing, literally no logged exercise time. Total fail two weeks in a row! I spent a lot of the weekend walking around but I’m not counting that. I will be better next week. I WILL!

Here’s what’s new with Baby2, courtesy babycenter.com:

This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He or she is rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look. Your baby’s skeleton is hardening. The bones in the skull aren’t fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap. This makes it easier for your baby to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don’t entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as your child’s brain and other tissues expand during infancy and childhood.