Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fun with needles

It's okay guys, we're just talking about sewing.  Nobody panic.

I did these projects a couple of weeks ago and I've been loving life.  It's one of those tiny things that has changed my life, I'm not even playing.  Wait, let me explain.
But first, pin this shit.
Trust me.

I am super blessed to be able to breastfeed Andrea.  I don't take it for granted for even one second; I know how lucky we are that it's somewhat easy for us.  We had our challenge dealing with her thrush early on, but thank the baby Jesus that shit is long gone and now she's a breastfeeding champ.

All those delicious leg and arm rolls are 
oh so satisfying.
I do so love my baby chunk-a-lunk.

But this is not about the baby.  Nope, this one's about me.  Specifically, how finding clothes when you're nursing is a pain in the ass.  I'm constantly on the lookout for nursing-friendly clothes that don't look matronly or stupid.
I hate these kinds of shirts the most.

Because I could rarely find cute shirts, I defaulted to button-down shirts and v-neck t-shirts and that's all I ever wore.  Ever.  It sucked and I felt frumpy and I wanted something different.  Now, I did luck out and find a couple of shirts that were nursing friendly but I passed on a ton more shirts than I ever bought.  Not to mention that I had a closet full of shirts that I couldn't wear because I couldn't nurse in them and the whole thing just pissed me off.  

I couldn't believe I'd never heard of nursing undershirts.  And while I completely support mom-owned businesses, I support my mom-owned wallet more.  Therefore, I need you to *not* charge me $25 plus tax and shipping for something that I can make for cheap or free.

With that, I dug through my drawers in search of a tank top with a straight back.  That part is important.  Lo and behold, I found seven such tank tops.  I bought them a thousand years ago and stopped wearing them because they were so old-school they only came to my waist, not like the more current longer length shirts they make today.  I bet you've got some of the same tank tops buried in your drawers too, and if you don't I've heard that Forever 21 has them for like three bucks.

This is so super easy but of course I made it harder on myself and pulled out my sewing machine.  Learn from me:  You only need a needle and thread for this.
It has to be a tank top just like this one; spaghetti straps and straight across the back.
First, you cut the straps off at the back.
Then you cut the strap short enough to where you can make a loop
from the remaining material, like this.
I nearly broke my sewing machine *again*
trying to sew this loop closed.
It was way too much for such a little space.
You really only need a needle and thread because you're sewing such a small area.

Once I got wise and put my sewing machine away,
it took me no time at all to transform my shirts.
Then you slip the loop around the clip of your nursing bra and you're in business.
Easy as pie and now I can wear whatever kind of shirt I want!
And as a bonus, since I cut the straps the shirt hangs lower; always 
great for layering!

I used a blanket as a nursing cover with Sofia for about two weeks and then I tossed that shit because it was way too much hassle, and I ended up just pulling my shirt down and nursing from the top.  Unfortunately, even the deepest v-neck t-shirt would eventually get stretched out and after having Andrea, nursing from the bottom was not an option.  Even though the baby weight is gone, I still have a stomach because I have no muscle tone anymore.  Additionally, I still have bruising and discoloration from the shots so it's pretty likely that my belly will never again see the light of day.  My handy-dandy handmade nursing shirts solve both of those problems for me.  I no longer have to stretch out the necks of my shirts, I don't have to subject the world to my flabby belly and I'm pretty much covered from both the top and bottom when I nurse.  Of course, there's a brief nip flash when I'm latching Andrea but if you see that then you're looking for it and those kind of people are the creeps.

Now, I know that there are other sites and blogs with this exact tutorial but I just wanted to add my contribution because I haven't been this pleased since I figured out to put a board over my sink so I could do my makeup.

Moving right along, I did another project about a week later.  That project?  THAT mother-fucking project?  And yes, I dropped an F-bomb as it relates to sewing because that's how frustrating that shit was.  But it's done and it's awesome and now that I know how to do it, I want to make a hundred of them.  Maybe.

Sure, it almost killed me but I made it.

I had a MAC brush roll for years and years but I left it in the hotel in Charlotte a while back.  To this day, I don't know how it happened because I'm meticulous when it comes to making sure I have all my stuff when I leave a hotel but that fateful time I left behind my brush roll and all my brushes.  It killed me.  Eventually, I replaced most of my brushes and they were living in a jar in my medicine cabinet.

Last week, I took the girls to Kansas with me for my high school reunion.  Obviously, I'd need my makeup brushes but I didn't want to spend the money on a roll when I could just as "easily" make one.  I consulted the almighty oracle Pinterest and found a tutorial that said it would take "about an hour."  My friends, this mother-effing makeup roll took me THREE mother-effing hours.  I made it the night before we left and this became a battle between me and my sewing machine.  I was going to finish this damn roll, even if I missed my flight.
Of course, neither child wanted to sleep that night
and instead of battle them, I strapped one in the baby carrier 
and set the other up with the iPad so I could finish that damn roll.
After all, it was just going to be an hour right? Ha.

I got all my brushes, some scrap fabric and laid everything out.
Every couple of minutes I'd stop and try to get Sofia to bed,
which added to the entire project time, as well
as the multiple times I locked up my sewing machine with all the tangled thread.
Then I cut another piece, folded it in half and laid it on top.
Pretty straightforward; so far so good.
Then, using my brushes as a guide, I pinned the pocket to the outside.
But this is as far as I got.
Pinning stuff is a pain in the ass.

Skinny pencils and brushes like these need a one-inch pocket.
Fat brushes need an inch and a half.
Once I figured that out, I didn't bother with pinning and just measured my spacing.
The tutorial was decent but it did not cover how to make the ties to keep
the roll closed.  It took me a solid hour to figure that out.  I was PISSED.
Then I googled it and found this and made the other tie in like five minutes.
No seriously, I was PISSED.

But holy balls, I did it!
I even have room for more brushes or pencils if necessary.

I love the way my makeup brush roll turned out and now that I know how to do it, I'm sure I could do it in less time and I seriously want to make more of them.  The actual sewing part probably did take just an hour, it's just that I had to rethread the needle a billion times, untangle the bobbin, reload the bobbin, cut away all the tangled thread.... BUT!  I did it!

There you have it, how to be less frumpy while nursing and have a cute holder for your makeup brushes!  

I will not ever say I'm good with a sewing machine because I nearly break it just about every time I sew.  However, I'm pretty proud of my little sewing projects and if I can do it, then seriously anybody can do it!  I'm thinking I might make some more brush rolls as Christmas gifts.

If I start now, I *might* have them done in time...


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bautizo 2.0

Two years ago, I wrote about the baptism of my first child.
Look at my little baby!

This past Sunday, I put the family dress on my second baby and once again, we took our place at church.
Sofia was a year old when she wore it and Andrea is five and a half months,
but it still worked.

Andrea's godparents are here and since we're moving, we wanted to make sure we got her baptized before we left.
It was a no-brainer to ask Aimee if she would 
be Andrea's godmother.  
She's such a special baby that she gets two 
godfathers.  Drew's good friend DJ (left) and Matt (right)
stood up for her.  Matt's girls are the sweetest
kids you'll ever meet and they just adore Sofia.

We went to Mass before the baptism and that made for a long day for Sofia.  This was her first time in church and while I was prepared with snacks and toys, it wasn't long before she became insistent and antsy saying over and over again "Mom, we have to GO.  Mom, it's time to GO."  Bless her heart, she hung in there but it was just a little much for her.

Between Mass and the baptism.
They were literally jumping around in circles.

I begged her to take her fingers out of her nose, but no dice.

Eventually, she cooperated.

Then it came for the ceremony.  We all filed in, symbolizing our
welcome into the Church.

Anointing her chest with holy oil.

That's what she thinks about this whole thing.

Andrea was blowing raspberries, Sofia was just about to melt down
but I got a shot of my girls.

They called us over to the baptismal font (fount? I'm not sure) one by one and as we walked over, the gravity of the whole thing hit me.  I haven't stepped foot in church in many many years and there are lots of things I disagree with, but let's face it.  I was raised in the Catholic Church and these things are ingrained.  They don't just go away.  My spirituality is a part of me, for better or worse and I was moved.  The symbolism of what we were doing - we were presenting our daughter to the Church - it was major and I was humbled.

When things are major, I usually cry.

This was no different.
Seeing her receiving her blessing, being held
by my dearest friend,
surrounded by people who love my baby and our family,
yeah I was ugly crying.

Of course, Andrea was a champ.  The water surprised her but 
she didn't cry.

Anointing her forehead with oil.

Holding the baptismal candle, the sign of new life

The baptismal garment, symbolizing purity and innocence

Blowing more raspberries.  
I need to get a video of her doing it because it's the cutest thing.

What's on your mind Babe?
For that matter, what's on my mind?  Why so serious?
PS, this was where all the families came up to the front to be formally 
presented and congratulated.

With that, my baby was baptized.  It was such a wonderful day and it was one of those amazing special life moments, you know?

All special life moments require cake.

And macarons.  That's a rule.

Poor baby.  This whole party was for her and she 
got no cake, no macarons, no sandwiches, no punch.
Life's just not fair.

I don't know why words are failing me right now to describe how much this meant to me.  All of it - being in church with my family, sitting next to my husband singing the hymns that I remembered from grade school, saying the prayers just like I remembered all those years ago, presenting my daughter just like I'd presented my daughter two years prior, seeing the water wash over her little forehead, having feelings about church and religion in general, yet feeling that twinge when the priest talked about marriage being between one man and one woman (c'mon guys don't mess up this great day), being surrounded by our friends but missing my mom and other members of my family, but feeling very like a matriarch myself, and feeling very much the Woman of my own house....

You guys, it was so much.

I'm so happy we did it and I'm beyond blessed to have such a beautiful family and SUCH wonderful, funny, happy, healthy daughters.  Seriously.  Blessed.  For real.

And I'm looking back at these pictures and I kinda feel the need to talk about my dress.  I know it's not about me, but I just have a feeling that maybe someone might take issue with the neckline of my dress in church?  I know I was self-conscious,  but I needed something low cut so I could nurse.  I did Rent the Runway again since I don't own dress up clothes anymore and I needed something knee length, with sleeves, low cut and in my size.  This was pretty much my only choice and I kept telling myself that it has to be low cut, I have to be able to nurse.  I even practiced a little speech should anyone say anything, but thankfully no one did.  Actually, I got a pointed stare in church for Andrea crying, not for me nursing her.  I had pumped a bottle just in case but you should have seen the side-eye I got from Andrea when I tried to give it to her.

Anyway, I just feel like I had to point out that I wasn't being disrespectful.

Ok!  Enough about me!  My baby got baptized!  My family is amazing!  

Seriously though, it was a great day and we are incredibly blessed and I just wanted to share the day with you, my friends.  


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Everything and nothing

Ugh, has it been nearly a month since I've been here?  So much for 'meaty content' aka 'I'll be blogging omg So Much!'  Man, kids and summer will do that to you.

It takes me a couple of hours to write a decent blog post and I just don't have that kind of time anymore.  As Sofia gets older and more articulate, she's much more demanding.  As in, "Mom, do you want to play with me?"  Every Day All The Time.  Every time I want to say no, because didn't I *just* play with you, kid?, all the articles and posts I've read about how the time goes so quickly, how play is so important, how they'll remember everything forever, how dare you not play with your kid, but all I really want is some time with just me and my writing, but of course I end up on the floor, playing dolls or cars or blocks.  And I'm not *really* complaining because one day she'll want nothing to do with me and I'll long for the days when she was at my heels, begging me to play.  I just wish there were a couple more hours in the day, just for me.  Just so I can recharge.

Then there's Andrea.  My chubby chunk-a-lunk, happy go lucky, babiest baby.  
Oh this baby.
She does indeed have every bit of my heart.

True story: I texted my girlfriend the other day because I was convinced something was wrong with her because she took a two hour nap and I'd laid her down more awake than drowsy and she just rolled over and went to sleep.  I just knew she had some sort of vitamin deficiency that makes you sleep all the time because Sofia never ever in life went to sleep that easily.  Hell, she still doesn't.  But my little Andrea will sleep anytime, anywhere and it's never a battle to get her to sleep.  Of course, I'm sure I'm jinxing myself as I write this but I really just want to record this for posterity.  At one time in my life, I had a kid who slept easily and often.  I never thought it could happen to me, but dreams do come true, my friends.
She's a finger and thumb sucker too.
I've tried my hardest to get her to take a pacifier but she just
spits it out and puts her fingers in her mouth.
I sure do hope she outgrows it and doesn't end up sucking her thumb for life.

In house news, it's officially on the market and I'm hoping and crossing my fingers and toes for a speedy sale.  We haven't had any showings yet, but we listed it the week of the 4th so I wasn't panicked that no one had called.  This week we haven't had activity and that's caused Drew an insane amount of anxiety and guess who gets to deal with that?  He asks me nearly every day if I've heard from our realtor, as if I'd forget to tell him, or I'd keep it a secret from him.  No really, I'm crossing my fingers, toes AND eyes for a speedy sale because another ten months of that is not the business.  Already, I've been like "BABE.  Seriously.  If I hear anything, you'll be the first to know.  SERIOUSLY."
I mean, who wouldn't want our little house?

We didn't actually intend to do the front purely to sell the house.  We wanted to clean up the landscaping for our own enjoyment, but as the universe would have it, we got the word that we'd have to move after we'd committed to having the landscaping done.  That was a fun little cursing session, and we briefly debated pulling the plug because we didn't want to put more money into a house that we weren't going to live in much longer, but there was that pesky contract we'd signed and hopefully the new front yard would attract buyers.
So they commenced to ripping up the front yard
and Sofia and I spent several mornings watching them work.
At the bottom right, you can see the concrete slab to nowhere that
always bugged me.
I thought a walkway would look better, since you always had to shimmy past the cars
to get to the front porch.
Also, the beds weren't even, as the one on the left (top) was 
much skinnier than the right.
Then there was this nasty mess o' weeds on the right side of the driveway.
There was a tree stump in there, a bunch of big rocks and tons of prickly plants
that of course were Sofia's favorites. 
They dug all this up and now it's a nice bed of grass.
I wish I'd gotten a better shot, but that tree was massive.
The stump wasn't that big, but the roots were insane.  
After a few days of their landscaping magic, we have our new walkway!
The beds are nice and even and it's so much prettier this way.
See, doesn't it look so inviting and symmetrical?
If I were spending more money on the house, I'd get a bench
for the front porch and maybe a planter or two, but
I'll leave that for the new owners.
Remember our awning?

Back in May, we had a hailstorm.  Thank GOD it was before we did the landscaping - I think Drew would have set the world on fire if we paid all that money for new plants and stuff only to have it destroyed mere days later by hail.
As it was, I couldn't do anything but watch as my brand new car
got pummeled.
Remember my pretty azaleas in the dog pen?

All gone bye-bye.
Drew was in China at the time, and this was my first hailstorm.
I know I know, I lived in Kansas and Texas, how is this my first storm?
But it was, and truthfully I was a little scared.
Of course, my Sofia was completely fearless and ran outside the second it was over.
"Look Mom! It's balls!  It's cold!"

Thanks to the hail, we got a brand new roof.

They also took the awning down.  You can see where it's all pockmarked from the hail.
It made no sense to repair or replace it, 
as it was original to the house and they don't even make them anymore.
It looks so much cleaner and more open, I'm not sure why we didn't do this before.

Do you see, New Owners?!  Do you see the awesome house you get to have?  New roof, new landscaping, new laundry room, nice open back patio, I mean really, how can you not snatch this up??

**Please, someone buy my house.**

We haven't even bothered seriously looking at houses in Raleigh because the real estate market is so crazy down there that houses are selling within days of being listed, so there's no point in even looking because we have no idea when we'll be ready to move.  The good thing is that Drew won't have to leave until we all leave so I won't have to mess with getting the house ready for showings by myself.  It's just that however you slice it, trying to sell your house is no fun and having to wait until it sells before we can get on with the next chapter is just a pain.

Yet, I'm thankful that we have a house to live in.  I'm thankful that my husband has a great job that's affording us this move and as always I'm thankful for our collective health and wellbeing that allows us to focus on everything else going on in our lives.  If any of those things weren't there, this would be a much different story.
 Everything's okay as long as I've got them.
And I sure do love that man.
These kinds of pictures are my favorite and I can't
wait until both girls can hold his hand.
Oh be still my heart.
I could take pictures of the two of them all day.
Who am I kidding, I do.
They're my favorite people.
Vacation this year was down to Williamsburg, Virginia.
We wanted to stay close to home as this was the first time we'd taken
Andrea on a trip and we're traveling again in a couple of weeks.
We didn't get out a ton because this was right after Drew's China trip
and I wanted family time more than tourist time.
So we spent most of our days lounging around the room or down at the resort pool.
We did make it out to The Living Museum and that was fun, 
but it was all pool all the time on this particular vacation.

Of course, I got no pictures of our pool time because two kids in the pool requires hyper vigilance and all hands on deck so we have only memories, no photos.  Although, I'm going to have to take some pictures before summer is over because Sofia is really doing so well in the pool.  She can't go without wearing her floatie just yet, but she's almost there; I can feel it.

There you have it - we've been doing a lot of everything and nothing around here, much like all of you guys I'm sure.  So in closing, I sure would appreciate all your good vibes for a speedy sale of our house and hopefully it won't be this long before I get to blog again.

For now, I have to start getting ready to travel.  Yup, this time I'm the one who gets to go out of town!  Oh yeah, I'm taking both girls with me on a plane by myself.  I'm not crazy, not in the slightest.  But I sure would stay home if it weren't for a good cause - namely, my 20 year high school reunion.  

Good lord, I'm old.  Let me go dye my hair and put on some eye cream or something.



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