December 27, 2010

Christmas, done right

This Christmas was perfectly balanced. We did everything that was important to me, but I resisted the urge to overschedule or overdo.
We visited the tree farm, and put up about half of our decorations. Enough that it felt like Christmas, but not so much I was overwhelmed. And I chose the ones that either wouldn't break or wouldn't break my heart, so that I didn't have to worry about quick little hands as we walked by.
We went to the mall once (and only once) to check out the decorations and find her Christmas outfits. (While there, we made the second out of three visits with Santa. We definitely covered that tradition this year.)
I made the munchkin's stocking, but left the embellishments for another year. I did line it with super soft corduroy from my local quilt shot. Even though she isn't nearly old enough to grasp the importance, she enjoyed pulling things out of it. It was also her only gift from us. We filled it with spoons, rice cereal, a teething toy and a new Dr. Seuss onesie. She cut her first tooth the week before and has been dying to eat solid food. So, the cereal was the best gift we could give her. At five months, she was not surprisingly more interested in eating the paper than in any of the gifts.

It was also the only handmade item given this year. Gifts were lovingly selected and carefully wrapped, but they came from a store. This wasn't the year for handmade for me, and the season was so much more fun because I recognized that. The same goes for baking. I wanted Christmas cookies, but I was fine with getting the dough from the grocery store and just decorating them.

But, we set aside a day for a special trip with Grandma and Aunt Megan. That was important enough for the extra effort.

By the evening of the 23rd, there was nothing left to do but watch The Grinch and drink hot chocolate. By the afternoon of the 25th, we were curled up together reading books. And every hour in between was spent enjoying my girl and her first Christmas.

I'm sure I'll miss it some years, but I sure hope we have many more Christmases with just this lovely mix of important traditions and quiet pleasure. I really feel like we got it right this year.

December 19, 2010

A Real Christmas

We woke up Saturday to a gray, cold rain. I declared it the perfect weather for my plans to immerse myself in all things Christmas and sat down to make a list. A few more gifts to pick up, 15 mini cakes to bake for office presents, a trip to the Quilt Shop and a stocking to make for my baby girl...a list worthy of the week before Christmas.

Then my little one woke up from her morning nap in a decidedly restless mood. Normally a munchkin that delights in the very existence of her world, nothing was right yesterday. She didn't seem to need anything in particular, except her parents.

And so, I gave in to it. The day would be about playing with her. We did run a few of those errands, when being out with other people made her happy, but the rest of the shopping list was put aside to wait a few more days. Cakes were baked after she went to bed, and while they aren't the prettiest baked good I've ever gifted I'm confident they'll be appreciated anyway.

I thought today might be the day I got back to that list, but when we got home from church it was clear that today wasn't that day either. Instead, I turned my phone off, set the list aside and decided to just be here. We spent several hours in the rocking chair, took a long nap together, and spent over two hours playing with blocks. Perhaps I'll get a start on her stocking after she goes to bed tonight. Or perhaps I won't. Either way, this has been the perfect week before Christmas. Focused on family and time together, enjoying the rhythm of life instead of fighting it.

The gifts will get wrapped, or they'll be given with just as much love in brown paper bags. And if the stocking doesn't get made, she can borrow mine. But, we will be with family. We will celebrate the birth of a man who asked not for gifts or baked goods, but for kindness to one another. And we will have enjoyed ourselves on the way to the celebration.

December 15, 2010

At Five Months

Oh my, kid, you continue to be such a joy. Every month a bit more fun than the last. I may be late writing this letter, but its only because I can't even begin to capture the magic of you these days.

You still laugh and play with wild abandon. And you are learning more and more sounds with which to express that joy. Gs and Ls, lots of ahs. Sometimes you'll throw a B or D in there. You watch how we form words so closely, and we can see you oh so quietly practicing new sounds.

Perhaps most effectively, and certainly most thrilling to me, you now use Mama (or just as often Mamamamam) to call for me or express excitement at seeing me. Boy does it work. You were fussing yourself to sleep one night when you plaintively cried out Mama from your bed. Your Daddy looked and me and said "you're sunk now." And he was right; I couldn't resist and picked you up for a cuddle. His turn is coming, though. You're right on the verge of saying Da-de. You were practicing last night, watching how Daddy was saying it and trying to imitate him. You got tired, though, and turned to look at me and said Mama instead. We had to laugh at the way you reverted to the one you have down, clearly done trying to learn something new. But today you tried out Da-de again while we were playing, and it was clear as day. I couldn't get you to repeat it, but you will. And you will hold your Daddy in the palm of that chubby little hand.

You're sitting up on your own for long periods of time now. So well that the pediatrician checked your birthdate in disbelief when he saw you doing it. You're also trying to get in to a sitting position on your own, and you almost can if you're reclining. We continue to be amazed by your strength. And your cleverness. If you're in your swing and want to get up, you have started holding on to the sides and using your hands to pull yourself up.

While your preference is still to be constantly interacting with you, with new skills comes a greater independence. You're more willing to sit or lay and play with your toys alone for a few minutes. And you'll happily play in your jumperoo (where you jump, jump, jump) as long as I stay within sight. The kitchen also fascinates you now, and I can do a little bit of cooking as long as I bring your Bumbo chair in so that you can watch. You're also putting yourself to sleep more often now, though that generally requires a bit of fussing (and sometimes alot of crying). You take a pacifier from Daddy and I now, too, so that helps. Oh, and your Daddy is very grateful you've agreed to accept a bottle from him now. Thanks for that.

You had a big month, which was capped off by Thanksgiving with the entire family. Baba and Diado came up for a visit, and we all went to DeLand for a big family meal. You met the rest of your cousins there, and took a long nap on the floor with Julie. We were all particularly charmed by the image of you guys sharing a quilt on the floor, and I love that you will have a cousin so close to your age. It will be so much fun watching you grow.

It is so much fun watching you grow.

November 20, 2010

Look, I made something!

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild's monthly sew day is today. My life doesn't exactly lend itself to a sew day right now, and I'm okay with that. But, I did want to participate in the Holiday Craft Project, where guild members are making items for long-term residents of a nursing home, those without regular visitors and who may end up without Christmas gifts.
So, yesterday I dusted off the sewing space. It turns out it takes one nap time and a few hours after the munchkin is in bed to make four pillowcases. The nice flannel should make for a little bit of soft luxury, or at least that's my hope.

My rotary cutting skills are apparently a bit rusty, but overall it felt great to sew. And a quick, but meaningful project was just what the doctor ordered.

Now to make sure I deliver it to the coordinator in time...

November 11, 2010

A Moment

I lie in the morning shadows, wishing I could hold this moment forever. The weight of your head on my shoulder, the warmth of your body tucked against mine. You look up at me so seriously, and then a small, sweet smile crosses your face as you raise an uncoordinated hand to pat my face. You are exploring my features, learning my face in a new way. Grabbing at my nose. My breath catches at the magic of it, and I wish I were a writer, an artist. Someone who knew how to capture this moment.

November 09, 2010

At Four Months

Oh my lovely baby girl, you are so much fun. I suspect I'll be saying this alot, but I love this stage. Four months - love it. Your sense of humor is so clear now, and you crack yourself up. Everything is a game to you. Making faces with me, trying out your voice with screeches and squeals (and oh my are you vocal these days), grabbing for a toy or the dog (who does not think this game is as much fun - life delights you. You aren't particularly coordinated yet, but you grab life (and the dog) with gusto.

You are so vibrant that strangers are drawn to you like a moth to light. And you revel in it, laughing and giggling, flirting with coy looks as you bury your face in my chest. Unless, of course, your Dad or I actually let that stranger, or, you know, grandparent, hold you. You're a bit early on that one, my love. Your poor Grandma, in particular, has been labeled as the person who comes and makes your Mom leave. All she has to do is walk in to the room and your face crumples. We're making sure to spend more time with all of us together, because she sure loves you alot. You are starting to let her hold you more again, and its a relief to me I'll admit.

That's your MO, though. You are precocious, early to figure things out, but then you take your time once you have. This month you practiced and practiced rolling over from your back to your tummy. For days I watched you on the verge of getting the hang of it, and you'd practice for long stretches of time. Then you got it, suddenly making rolling over look easy and reacting to my celebration with a look that clearly said "what, that? no biggie." And once you master the skill, you no longer feel the need to do it very often. You'll go days now without rolling over (or trying to roll over). But then, when you decide you'd like to roll over, you do so as easily as if you're rolling hundreds of times a day. Do you practice when I'm not looking?

You could be, actually. I went back to work this month. Its only part time, about 20 hours a week away from you. You've adjusted well - developing a routine with your nanny that is completely different from the one you have with me. She's still the only one that you'll really take a bottle for. (Your Dad would really appreciate your adding him to that exclusive list, by the way.) The two of you take long walks and watch the big kids play on the playground at least once a day, and I often come home to find the two of you playing on the floor. Though, just as often, I come home to find you dozing in her arms sucking a pacifier. That's another item you will take only from her, preferring to suck on your own thumb or our fingers when you are with your Dad or me.

What am I forgetting? I know there is so much. You have had a developmental explosion this month. I let go of you one afternoon and you sat up by yourself for a good 30 seconds, a feat you haven't repeated again. We established our first holiday tradition this month, with a Mama-made Halloween costume and a little trick or treating (of sorts). And... life it goes so fast, but it is so great.

November 04, 2010

The Three Bears Romp

On Halloween, the three bears locked up the porridge and made the rounds. It was so much fun to have our own little Baby Bear to share Halloween with, and she was fascinated by all the strange decorations and kids running around in costume. She's always interested in the bigger kids these day, and the addition of bright and playful costumes really put it over the top for her.

For me, the joy was establishing the tradition of a Mama-made costume, and that it was more about fun than fancy. I started with Simplicity pattern 5720 and tweaked things a bit to create a bear. (Her father doesn't think I quite accomplished that. He describes her costume as 'some sort of cute little animal' and spent the night saying we were 'apparently' the three bears or that we were 'supposed to be' the three bears.) Her costume was finished off by furry boots and a Halloween bib. Mama and Papa Bear were made by basting a belly patch to a brown shirt and improvising ears sewn to headbands.

So, the first of the holiday traditions has been established. Onward in to the holiday season!

October 19, 2010

The Countdown

I return to work Monday. Monday. It no longer requires a qualifier. I don't have to say Monday the 25th, a week from Monday, or even next Monday. Its just Monday.

My leave has been extraordinarily generous, and I'm sort of surprised to find myself here. The time has been slipping away from me.
I have four months.
... the end of October.
.... on the 25th.
... a week from Monday.
And now, its just "Monday."

So, I'm having the second, third and fourth thoughts that most (every?) mother has in the last days of a dwindling maternity leave. And this despite the fact that I am so blessed. I have options and choices so many mothers don't have. (I know; I really do.) My employer has agreed to let me return half time. I can afford to be choosy about child care, and I am being incredibly so. She'll be 16 weeks old. Even the choice to return is mine; I don't have to do this at all.

And yet...

My mantra this week: I don't have to do this. If it doesn't work for our family, I can change my mind. We'll just see how it goes.

October 04, 2010

At Three Months

At almost exactly this time three months ago we met face to face for the first time, you and I. It would be hours more before we'd get to spend any time together, thanks to my fever, but already I could see your face in my mind with no effort at all. Three months later, I know your face and the many emotions that cross it better than I know my own.

There have been a lot of emotions to see. This has been your fussy month. I didn't realize just how fussy you'd been, really, until we spent last weekend at Aunt Megan's and Grandma got to see you first thing in the morning. You are always at your happiest after a good night of sleep, and she was amazed by just how cheerful and content you were. Its true; you have been a little high maintenance recently. Its been a month of sinus congestion and ear aches for you, and so we've had to work a little harder at keeping you entertained and make sure you stay on a good sleep schedule.

Thankfully, we seem to have that worked out, you and I. You are napping very well now. Three times a day you fall asleep with only a little help from me, and you wake up promptly one hour later. (We already knew you had a calendar, and now you seem to have an alarm clock, too.) And at night, you let me know around 7 that its time to start the bedtime routine. A warm bath, nightgown and nursing later and you're dreaming sweet dreams. The next step, though, will be letting someone other than me put you down for bed.

And, because you're sleeping better or perhaps just because you're getting older, you are even happier and more fun when you are feeling well. You still love best to play with us, and you express your joy with your whole body. You can scoot yourself backwards and forwards now, and you're a breath away from rolling over from your back. You also spend even more time on your play mat - grabbing the toys, looking at the animals printed on it or just quietly watching the light and listening to the music. The other day you even decided to nap there. You were laughing and playing, and then suddenly you stretched, rolled over to your side and went to sleep.

We spend alot of time out of the house, too. You love our long walks and spend hours on the Avenue with me. We even had our first play date this month. You loved watching our friend, who is almost two, run around the park and play. I loved watching you follow her with your eyes, bouncing excitedly on our laps and laughing. You are just so much fun.

This is our last month of spending all our time together. In a few weeks, I'll be going back to work for a few hours a day, and someone will be coming to stay with you while I'm gone. While I really believe this is the best balance for us, I'm sure going to miss all this uninterrupted time with you.

September 18, 2010

Fits and Starts

It's not that I have no time to craft. I could easily take 15 minutes of her naptime or ask my husband to take over for an hour after he gets home. I just don't seem to be able to focus, and so the short spurts I can do aren't getting me very far.
I've almost finished the great Orchid the super-talented Julie designed and kindly taught us at our last guild meeting. I was too distracted by the munchkin on my lap to listen to directions well at the meeting, so I took mine apart to start over at home in the quiet. Its honestly a 15 minute project, but after doing the hard part I stalled. Why? Because I have to remember to get out a little batting and the glue gun when the baby isn't sleeping in that room. Its been in this state for almost two weeks now. Lame. Maybe I'll finish it this afternoon in honor of the guild's Sew Day. It will eventually get finished, because I have plans to use it as part of a Christmas gift. Of course, that will also need to get made eventually...
I also have big dreams of a liberated stars quilt, using the technique taught in the second edition of Liberated Quiltmaking. Or at least to make some star blocks. This is as far as I've gotten. Again, I've been working on this for weeks. If you can call what I've been doing 'working on' it. Mostly I've been fingering these blocks that I cut out several weeks ago and dreaming about the quilt.
My knitting is actually faring a little better, because this is a project I can do with the munchkin on my lap or half spaced out in front of the TV while her Dad has her. This is a prayer pocket for the knitting ministry we have started at church. I haven't made it to a group knit since before the baby was born, but at least I've knit a few rows. Quite a few really. I'm letting the other knitting projects, the ones that take brain power, languish, but this little bit of crafty caring is progressing.

Mostly, though, I'm focused on the munchkin who is developing almost faster than I keep up. That's okay. I figure she's by far the most important project I've ever taken on. And its not like I can relegate her to the UFO pile when I'm not in the mood!

September 11, 2010

The Royal Court

Gwen would like it known that, yes, she is learning to share, thank you very much. And what do you mean does she mind not being the princess of the house anymore? She already has the baby trained to insist on multiple walks a day, doesn't she?

September 10, 2010

At Two Months

Two months. Two months. Its been a lifetime - your lifetime, specifically - and no time at all. You're a healthy, lively baby girl. Already outgrowing the smallest of your clothes and melting my heart with your dimples. I swear you're growing before our very eyes.

And we know why. You nurse like a champ. No hesitation to latch, and no question you know just where the milk comes from. The sound you make as you take to 'the milk dud' (your father's term, used just as often to describe me frankly) is part greed, part satisfaction. We call you the milk monster, and you've earned the name. You hold on fiercely, fisting my shirt in your tiny hand or gripping at my skin with your fingertips, and gaze up at me with big blue-gray eyes. Every once in awhile you smile without letting go. It kills me every time.

Not nearly so winning is your new refusal to really nap. You've taken to sleeping for half an hour or less during the day, often cat napping in my arms but jerking awake at the slightest movement. This leads inevitably to an overtired baby who whines, fusses and eventually cries inconsolably until finally, finally falling asleep at night. Some times you can't even find your way to bedtime on your own, and Dad or I end up dancing with you until the rhythm finally soothes you and you drop off. But, we're starting a new routine, you and I. I'm trying to learn to read your cues that you're getting tired and develop cues for nap time that tell you its time to sleep now. You learned the nighttime cues so quickly; I am hoping we'll have an easy time passing through this stage now that I'm recognizing it for what it is.

And it will be so worth it when we get these naps worked out. You are simply charming when you wake up fresh from a good sleep. You grin and laugh, reach out for us with sheer joy. The world is still a fascinating place, and when you're feeling good you are so very interested in it. That's the best time for your tummy time or to lay on our backs and watch the ceiling fan. You aren't a fan of being left on your own, but you'll lay there if I'm playing with you.

Boy do we play these days. We spend more time at your play mat, as you slowly gain the coordination to hit the toys and hear their noise. Its a game you find as absorbing as you do frustrating. You love 'Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.' We play it so often your Dad has found himself humming it at work. And now we've added 'The Wheels on the Bus' accompanied by the bicycle move that helps with the gas. (Oh, the gas. You're still so bothered by this, sometimes crying out in your sleep. We've already passed the magic six week mark, when Grandma thought it would go away, and now we're waiting for three months when our friends have said it will pass. We're still hoping.) And your delighted when your Dad flies you like an airplane or I bend my knees and put you tummy down on them so you can wave your arms or bend your knees to move up and down.

But, what you love best is just to talk with us. I rest you on my knees and read books to you or tell you the nursery rhymes I now have memorized. You watch me with serious eyes and then break in to the biggest grin. Or you'll watch soccer with your Dad, earnestly listening while he explains strategy to you and simply fascinated by all the bright colors and movement. Sometimes you talk back to us, cooing and vocalizing with the best of them.

You still prefer the outdoors, though. Now that the weather is finally changing we spend most of our early mornings out under the grapefruit tree. Dad and I drink our coffee, and you happily sit with us and watch the world. Some mornings I take a book outside and we just stay there, even after Dad has left us to go to work. Or we take the dog and go for a long walk through the neighborhood, looking to see what is happening in our little world. We sometimes take two or three walks in the day, even walking down to Park Avenue to window shop or sit in the park. Your love of the outdoors makes it hard to deny you.

Its hard to deny you anything, frankly. You're alot of work, child of mine, and I rather suspect you always will be. But, its a result of your curious, alert nature and that is exactly what makes you so amazing to watch. We took our first overnight trip - to Baba and Dado's house - on the day you turned two months. You took in the new environment, the big dogs and even your first dip in a swimming pool with huge eyes and curious hands. It was a little overwhelming it seemed, and you preferred to do your exploring from my arms or your Dad's. But, your Dado won you over with his willingness to endlessly show you the wonders of his garden. And your endless fascination with it would have won him over, if he hadn't already been yours.

Just like the rest of us.

This post has been sitting in drafts, delayed by an increase in fussiness and a decrease in sleep. A trip to the doctor (for your first shots, poor thing) reveals fluid behind your ear drum. Your current trouble sleeping may be as much about an earache as a nap routine. Baby Tylenol resulted in the first long sleep you've had in two weeks. Now, if you'd just fall asleep for your afternoon nap...

August 24, 2010

Primary Day

The polling place was the Lions Club just a few blocks from our house, always staffed with silver-haired citizens from a time when civic duty was takenvery seriously. My Mom would step in to the booth, slide closed the heavy drapery smelling slightly of the dust that had collected since the last election, carefully make her selections and pull the handle of the (now infamous) punch card machine. She always voted, and I always got to be there. Sometimes she would let me pull the handle, breaking the rules I'm sure.

I haven't missed voting in an election since I turned 18, all through school making my decisions based on the huge envelope of clippings Mom sent and carefully completing my absentee ballot. These days my polling place is the recreation center at the top of my street, perfect for walking to with a cup of coffee. Its always staffed by members of the Orlando Ball
et, whom I understand have taken on the responsibility for many years. I walk up to a booth that reminds me of a plastic version of the carrels from my high school library, and I carefully make my selections and fill in the bubble with a black pen.

Today my daughter went with me.

August 21, 2010


Already she looks less like a newborn and more like a baby. The dimple in her cheek has been joined by dimples at her elbows and knees. Her hands and feet are still oh so small, but no longer are they the impossibly fragile hands and long feet of a newborn. Now she has plump little hands that grasp tightly to my shirt, and round feet she uses to dance. She curls her body in to mine, and she is such a soft little bundle. Oh my, how fast it goes...already.

August 16, 2010

The Naptime Dress

There's a special little girl in my life who, at 10 months old, hasn't yet received a handcrafted gift. That clearly had to be corrected. She has also generously passed on all her clothes to my little firecracker as she outgrows them, so a dress was the obvious choice* when I finally sat down to make her something. (Its a given that her quilt will have to wait a bit longer, right?)
This pretty little frock fit the bill. Simple enough to be made in a few naptimes, and pretty enough to be special. Add in a few great fabrics from my local quilt shop, and you have a dress that speaks of my love for the little girl for whom its meant.
And made with snaps, it is fully reversible. Two dresses for the effort of one, a lovely gift for a special girl, and some simple sewing for a new Mama - perfect. It feels good.

*Though it occurs to me as I write this that I made a dress for a little one who is crawling. Not good planning.

August 04, 2010

To My Daughter

You're one month old today, and already I can't remember what life was like before you.

Our family has become your very own paparazzi, and you already talk to everyone on skype. Most newborns don't start their mornings with video chats, but half of your adoring audience lives over seas. Its not all about distance, though. Daddy sometimes calls us from work, just so he can see your little face and maybe show you off to a friend.

But, its not really surprising. You're very entertaining for such a tiny one. The world is fascinating, and you are so alert. You watch us with big, serious eyes and then suddenly break in to a grin. You'll even smile at us, reacting to a playful tone of voice. I know the books all say that smiles at this age are gas or coincidence, but even the skeptics have had to agree you're smiling at us.

Some times, for no apparent reason, you'll purse your lips, open your eyes wide and stick out your neck, giving you the look of an adorable baby turtle.

You know your Daddy's voice, turning to look for him when he comes home after work... You are a Daddy's girl, already, and its so sweet to see that I can't regret it.

As long as the world stays interesting, you stay happy. I can't sit still with you for too long. You want to be entertained, and since you don't yet interact with toys I am responsible for your entertainment. So, we're constantly changing positions or locations, trying something new, and looking for ways to keep your busy little mind happy. In the last few days, you've gotten the hang of consistently getting your hand in to your mouth and started sucking on your fingers. This seems to keep you busy for a few minutes.

Don't be in too much of a hurry to make me expendable, though. I don't really mind entertaining you. Fortunately, you like almost anything. You don't protest tummy time as much as I expected, and you easily push yourself up on your arms to look around. You're so strong, holding your head up and looking around for long minutes. Really, you've been doing that from the time we brought you home, but I still can't get over it. You're pulling your legs up in to a crawling position, too, already checking out how all these muscles work and trying to get things coordinated. I'm starting to wonder if you're going to be athletic, definitely a trait you won't get from me.

Yesterday you rolled over from your stomach to your back. Repeatedly. I want to savor this time, when you're so tiny and all ours, but here you are growing before my very eyes. Its probably a good thing you're a quick learner, though. I think you may take after your Aunt Megan, because it makes you so mad when you don't have the skills yet to do something you want to do.

You love the outdoors. Whether its taking a walk, sitting in our yard or just look out the window, you are entertained. If you're fussy and need soothing, all I have to do is walk outside and you magically stop. Of course, the second I step back in to the air-conditioned house the fussing starts again. You don't seem to care that this is mid-summer in Florida.

We're grateful that you save most of the fussing for the day. Somehow, you've figured out night is for sleeping and usually can be counted on to sleep from around 10 pm to just a little before 7 am, waking up every three hours to nurse and then falling right back to sleep. You're remarkably good at self-soothing, putting yourself to sleep when I put you down sleepy. During the day is a little more erratic, and some days you hardly seem to sleep at all. Then there are other days when you do nothing but sleep, though you often insist on doing so on my chest.

Your one real complaint about the world so far would be when you have too much gas. Then you are awake day and night, telling us that you hurt with a plaintive cry that breaks our hearts. Your Daddy has become an expert at the massage that helps you deal with it, and Mama helps too, if with a bit less skill. You seem to understand, pulling your legs up to help us, and you take the gas drops without complaint, too. Grandma swears that the gas always gets better at 6 weeks, and we're holding her to that.


You just woke up from the nap you've been taking on my chest, and you're sitting up against my hands looking for all the world like a miniature adult. I said 'hi' to you and you grinned back up at me, showing the little dimple in your cheek. Is it any wonder I'm completely in love with you?

July 21, 2010


I want to remember.

After nursing, a drop of milk still resting in the corner of your mouth, you lie beside me on the bed. My body instinctively curls around your tiny frame. Your feet, crossed at the ankles as is your habit, rest on my thigh. Your wide eyes watch the sunlight streaming through the window above us, and your hand idly rubs against my skin. Every once in a while you stretch luxuriously, but always your little body comes back to rest against mine. Together we wake up slowly.

July 20, 2010

Nature Girl

When she's fussy, too tired to sleep or just bored, all I have to do to soothe her is step outside. She loves to be outside and quiets instantly. Sometimes she'll fall asleep, but most of the time she looks around her with wide eyes.

I try to imagine what its like to feel the warm summer breeze on your face for the first time, to look at our neighborhood with those new eyes. How does she understand those tree branches dancing over her head or the sound of the children on the playground down the street? Neighbors get a second look, but she ignores the dogs that pass us on our walk. Is it instinct that the noisy car passing by doesn't warrant her attention, but the call of the Osprey swooping over us causes her to curl protectively in to my chest? She's learning so much about her world already. I wish she could tell me what she thinks.

July 16, 2010

A Moment

We've had 24 hour a day help from family since we came home, with one family member literally handing off to another. I can't quite imagine how we would have gotten through those first days, when I could barely use my abdominal muscles and we were all very, very tired from our journey to become a family, without them.

But tonight I'm feeling much like my old self and things are slowly coming back to normal. So, we found ourselves alone at home for awhile - just the three of us for the first time. I was at the stove cooking dinner, he was on the phone, and the baby was watching it all from her bouncy chair. And then, the inevitable, the wail of a dirty diaper. We met eyes, silently deciding which parent was in the best position to handle it. (Him.)

And butterflies fluttered in my stomach. This is ours. Our child. Our life...

Happy 4th

Our little Firecracker, born July 4, 2010 at a healthy 7 lbs. 6 ozs.

Her arrival was a rougher journey than we'd planned, but some things are worth whatever it takes to get them. Being her Mom? Worth every bit of it.

June 30, 2010

Waiting: Day Three

Feeling restless today I re-packed the hospital bag, went to Target for new pillows and generally acted like something was happening that I should be prepared for. Then a dear friend, in town from New York, came to visit and saved me from myself. Followed by dinner out with my indulgent husband, it was the perfect remedy to the restlessness.

June 29, 2010

Waiting: Day Two


And I'm glad I took the time to pay attention to details like zig zag finishing the inside edges, changing thread colors when needed, and learning to properly use bias binding to finish the top. The small time commitment of baby clothes are a great opportunity for me to really learn those skills.

June 28, 2010

Waiting: Day One

I am officially on maternity leave, and the baby is officially not here. So, in addition to many hours spent sleeping and reading, I am filling my day with little projects.

Today's project was finishing the little kimono pajamas I've been wanting to make for weeks. The pants are finished, but I ran in to a problem with my plan to use store bought binding so I could use the blue trim despite not having enough yardage. Apparently, Coats & Clark and Amy Butler do not agree on the definition of 1/2" bias binding. I wasn't willing to venture out to the store by the time I realized that, so this may spill over in to tomorrow's project.

June 15, 2010

Slow Crafting

While I greatly admire expectant Mama's who churn out adorable baby items for 9 months, I am clearly not that Mama. I do much less crafting when pregnant. I'm too tired, too preoccupied with the rest of the to do list, and just too disinterested in doing anything that can't be done from the couch.
But, I did think she should have more than just two gowns from her Mama, so this weekend I cut out the pieces for little kimono PJs. The pattern is from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. I love her adult patterns and they always go together so easily, so I'm hoping this will be an easy sew. And that I'll get back to it before next weekend.

I am making great progress on this adorable Matinee Sweater from The Expectant Knitter. Its an easy knit, and that I can do from the couch. Or the bed. Or the waiting room. I did knit her another sweater, but I don't like how it came out and I'll probably never put it on her. But this little cardigan, which I'm knitting with bamboo yarn, looks like just the thing to fight the air conditioning chill.
I've also spent alot of time pondering how to make a sling from these fabrics. I bought the bird fabric at least three years ago with an apron pattern in mind. When I decided it wasn't right for that project, I put it away with a baby sling in mind. And then waited several years to get pregnant. Except, now that I am pregnant, all the patterns were for longer lengths of fabric and said you should have a fabric that doesn't have a wrong side. So, could I make it with a lining or would that be too thick for the rings? And, can I skip that extra 1/4 yard they call for, since I'm small? My list of questions was endless, and since some of this is actually about safety it seemed like just experimenting was a bad idea. So, I finally emailed a friend with actual expertise in such things* and begged for advice. And she promptly offered to make it for me as a baby gift. Score!

* True expertise - as in she actually made and sold slings to real customers. I bought one as a baby gift years ago, and it was gorgeous. The Mama said it was really comfortable, too. I don't think she's specializing anymore, but you could ask about a commission through the Etsy shop she and her husband share. You should keep an eye on their shop anyway. Really cool things pop up in there whenever they find a minute for crafting in the midst of life and raising beautiful children.

May 22, 2010

Still Nesting

We're still spending alot of time cleaning, rearranging and generally trying to fit all the kid gear in to our house. It doesn't help that all this finally got us motivated to install a ceiling fan, fix some plumbing and basically deal with a bunch of other household chores that we'd been ignoring. And, of course, this meant turning upside down the work we'd already done so it almost has to be re-done.

In all of that, I haven't done much sewing. Mother's Day weekend, appropriately enough, was the exception to that. I finished the hand quilting on her bird quilt, which just needs binding now. And, I made her another gown. This is the same drawstring gown pattern. Clearly, this is my current comfort pattern.
I think I may be done with it now, though. The adorable kimono patterns are really calling my name...

May 05, 2010


When we were growing up, my mother would often tell my sister and I that the only person you get for your whole life is your sister. It was important to her that we have a close relationship, despite a six year age difference and natural sibling rivalry. Her ploy
worked. There is no relationship in my life quite like the one I have with my sister.
So, this week was incredibly special. She had one week between semesters in graduate school, and she came to spend it helping me re-arrange the house and set up the nursery. I took the first half of the week off, giving us five full days to focus on all things baby. Most of the time it was just the two of us, and it was a great chance to be together and share the excitement.
And we did a great job, if I do say so myself.But, best of all, I got to share this incredibly exciting time with my sister. She listened to the baby's heartbeat, felt her kicks and swore she could see my belly grow before her very eyes.

April 21, 2010

One Down

adorable fabric on the clearance table + an urgent need to have it become a gown for my little girl = antidote to my fear of sewing knits

I definitely have to learn more about edging, but since this is newborn size I don't think she'll be complaining. And its a thrill to this pregnant mama's heart.

April 20, 2010

Where I Try to Find Words and Fail

I've been trying for a month now to find words for what I'm feeling. Since there is absolutely no missing the baby belly now, I get asked how I'm feeling at least once an hour. My habitual answer is 'great.' And I am. This has been a very easy pregnancy for a desperately wanted baby. I got my wish for a girl, and she has a name. I've knit her a few things and sewn her the cutest little gown. She has two quilt tops that are *this close* to being quilts. Its amazing. And wonderful. And, well, great.

And yet... this preparation? its alot of work, isn't it? My wonderful friends and family have planned baby showers. Three of them, in fact. So, the registry had to get done and so many decisions had to be made. I was amazed by how long it took. And what will be her bedroom has been my work room and our general storage room. So, before I can get to the joy of decorating the nursery I have to clear out that room. And I'm not really sure what to do with that stuff, not to mention that her father and I don't necessarily agree about whether one large piece of furniture can stay in there with her.* Plus it gets harder and harder to bend over to clean things out. And this has been generally not. fun.

That's not really it, though. No, I am not enjoying all the cleaning and reorganizing. I hate living in the cluttered maze of furniture and boxes that inevitably fill up the house during a transition like this. But, I've done it before and with much better grace. In fact, after some help putting together a big bookshelf next weekend, I probably only need another hour or two to have things to the point that the room can be painted. And then my sister is coming to spend several days helping me set up the nursery and create a work space for myself downstairs. I should be feeling relieved and getting excited about the fun part now. And I am. Kind of.

This feels different than just my environment is in disarray. It is different. The fact that her basted and marked quilt is sitting here without a stitch in it nearly two weeks later, two weeks in which of done plenty of couch sitting, says alot about how much inertia I feel. And yet, I am excited about this baby and the fact that she'll be here in 11 weeks or so. I am.

So, a month after I first tried to write this post, and I still can't find the words.

I'm blaming it on the hormones.

*Let me hasten to say that he's said it goes, if I say it goes. He's not arguing with me over anything I want to do. Its just that he's repeatedly asked why it has to go, whether we'd really be able to find something smaller that would still serve the purpose and 'just why are we moving that big thing again'. I know he both believes those things and really doesn't want to move it since it will be a serious pain in his rear, and while I really want it out of there I'm not sure he doesn't have a point. We've agreed it stays until the baby furniture is in there and I start trying to arrange it. If I can't make it work in a way I'm happy with, he'll get rid of it.

March 22, 2010

New Quilt, New Friends, New Furniture

I've always been a solitary quilter, but I love the history of quilting as a community event, a chance for women to bond over fabric and thread. And now I'm creating my place in that great history. Saturday was National Quilting Day, and it was also the first sewing day for the Orlando Modern Quilt guild. Have sewing machine, will travel. I packed up my gear and spent a wonderful day quilting and making new friends. And with their advice, I finished up the baby's quilt and resisted the urge to add more raw edge applique. Its good to have others around to help you stop when its done. Now I'm on the hunt for the perfect backing.

And this is what happens when you order couches from Ikea. Consider yourself warned. But, my wonderful husband and brother-in-law put them together with no swearing and a minimum of grumbling. They look great (that's the love seat under the quilt in the first photo) and we're so relieved to have finally found couches we both love. They're perfect for napping, too.

March 08, 2010

At 32 weeks

For the last few weeks, I've found myself saying that "I just feel so pregnant." I continue to be blessed with a remarkably easy pregnancy, so I'm definitely not complaining. It does sneak up on me, though. I'm not sleeping well and so by the end of the day my body just feels so heavy that all I want to do is lie down. Speaking of heavy, this daughter of mine seems to have had her 2nd trimester growth spurt and my belly feels so stretched and big. My back hurts, just a nagging ache that I know is about both not finding a good sleeping position and that heavy belly. I am amazed by my appetite, and the constant heartburn that accompanies it. (If this kid isn't born with a head full of hair, I'm going to be shocked.) The baby still does cartwheels through my uterus, but her new favorite game is to wedge herself in to a corner where she becomes a very painful lump. And yet... its so cool. It must be the only time when physical discomfort is as thrilling as it is uncomfortable. There's a person growing in there.

And I'm her Mom. I realized today that I've stopped thinking of myself as just a pregnant woman, and I've started to think of myself as her mother. I'm guessing its something about the reality of the growing belly and the strong movements. But, whatever it is, there is no question that I feel like a mother now. And I will never again not be a mother. Even if tragedy should strike, she will always have been my child and me her mother. I know this feeling will grow and that what it means to me will change dramatically come July, and then again a hundred times after. But for right now, I'm just trying to wrap my mind around what my heart already knows. I'm a mother.

February 26, 2010

Baby's Quilt

My first 'improvisational' quilt seems to be just about done, and I think it might just be for the baby. Bright colors, lots of patterns, birds - looks like baby doesn't it?

The three little bird patches in the brown stripe will be rough edge appliqued, which will add some texture for little fingers. I think it needs a brown border, though. I've pretty much settled on that. And I'm toying with the idea of rough edge appliqueing little patches on the brown border too. Just enough to add the extra texture and some visual interest, but still leave some space for the eye to rest. This quilt is definitely at risk of getting too busy.

This quilt may have stalled for awhile, but its definitely taking a life of its own now. Here's hoping I have time and energy to finish it up this weekend.

February 18, 2010


That growing belly and the increasingly strong (and oh so frequent) kicks remind me that this baby will outgrow my body in the next twenty weeks, give or take. I have never known stronger motivation to keep to my gym schedule. I want to be healthy for myself and this baby. I need the strength to care for this baby when she arrives. I feel better when I go to the gym. But, what gets me there after a long day at work, is the reality that labor is just around the corner. And so, I go.

* This photo is me fresh from a work out. Perhaps not the prettiest pregnancy photo we've taken, but definitely among the most accurate.

January 22, 2010

at 17 weeks

I want to remember...
:: my hand resting on the swell of my tummy without thought, part of me always aware
:: how my husband's excitement fills every corner of our life
:: his tenderness with me and how very anchored in our marriage I feel, so strongly a couple as we stand on the cusp of becoming three
:: that life seems the same, is the same, but the world feels different
:: wondering how I never noticed before the huge responsibility of naming
:: how the aches and twinges are suddenly signs of a miracle
:: waiting impatiently for those first flutterings, the quickening

January 17, 2010

Christmas Quilt

The quilt was finished in time for Christmas and, as predicted, the recipient loves it. It came out just as I had envisioned, and the hand work was just what I was in the mood for.

Other than the quilt, I've pretty much just been laying around. I'm growing a whole other person in my body, and I figure that's work enough. My body thinks it is whether or not I do anyway. Last night I fell asleep on the couch, while our friend was still here. I didn't wake up until after she left.

While laying on the couch isn't conducive to sewing, at least when I don't have any hand sewing to do, it is conducive to knitting. I've started a baby sweater, the Shawl Collar Sweater from The Expectant Knitter, and in a week I've finished the front. Expect knitting photos soon!

Well, not too soon, since apparently my complete laziness also extends to blogging.