Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You're Golden

Not just any birthday, but the Golden Birthday. Miss Monkey will be 4 on the 4th of May, one week from today, 2:54pm HST. And if you wanna be cute, I'll be 33 on the 3rd, tho' I'm not sure it really counts as it's not technically the same number---but it sounds good, and I like it. I'm considering the entire week auspicious. The year Little Girl was born I was in labor on my birthday, and the situation seems to have repeated to a certain degree. A huge shadow looms over next week, in the shape of what Monkey calls "a great big Easter Egg belly!" I wager that if we had made plans around this entire 2 week period, I'd most certainly be in labor already. As it is I'm seriously uncomfortable today, the ankles have swollen, I can barely bend down without feeling my sternum crunch bumping into someone, waking up to change positions in the night feels as if I had a hard workout, hips & knees are so sore.

I remember my Golden birthday, I got a pony, and a bird, and a magnetic maze bug game that transfixed me for what seemed the entire afternoon. There was a fairly large party to my recollection, since we lived in the country not too many small friends of mine, 'cause there just weren't many out thataway. The pony's name was Little Man, he was a Shetland, supposedly an ex-circus pony according to my mom. The bird's name was Freddy, a blue parakeet, she liked to sit on one's head during dinner. Though I grew up thinking there was never enough money, it seemed like we always had plenty of animals around, horses included, on the two acre lot I grew up. Apparently the familial estate has only just thinned the creature population to one cat, a few chickens, and maybe the last two young hobbyist horses.

So, for my firstborn's birthday we've tentatively scheduled an afternoon play date. Presence of friends paramount to presents, keeping it simple. She'll get cake and balloons, and thoughtfully exciting gifts from family. I've certainly notified every-mom that I'll call them if the little playground date doesn't happen for (really) obvious reasons. Looking forward to it all, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sew Kewl

My sewing history is spotty; while I'm familiar with method I had very little practice. Ms. M, sewing mentoress, helped me learn a whole lot more last year when I got the idea to make some Papa's Shirts Dresses for the Little Girl. Essentially I dismantled several of The Man's shirts, picked a super simple Kwik Sew pattern, and with Ms. M, produced not only 3 uber-cute dresses for last summer, but eventually the fantastic Purple Mermaid Costume for Halloween '09.

Sew, lately, as I find more time on my hands awaiting the New Arrival, I'm proud of my creativity with my gratefully borrowed machine. Taking several outgrown pairs of Miss Monkey's tights I simply made leg/arm warmers with them. I also converted a coveted tu-tu—turned out to be too too small—into a wearable state cutting away the butt of the bottom, and replacing with tights of Her choice. While it's not ideal for her dancing repertoire at the moment, at least it's another item to add to the costume & dress-up box.

My first Big Belly project to convert 2 pair of jeans to wearable maternity skirt was less than ideal (the side panels pouffed, the belly band was less than great). I put it aside for a time before I decided what needed to be done. The finagling of a sewing room is an immense help. The house we're in has an odd nubbin of a room off the master, that's big enough and small enough to act a closet, yet has its own closet (weird I know). I finally got tired of stitching on the kitchen table with all my supplies stacked in the corner, moved everything down to the Nubbin Room. When Monkey has torn her heirloom skirt yet again, all I need do is uncover the machine to stitch it up.

Anyway, the blue jean convert-to-skirt had to be completely revamped. I made a small tear much worse while removing the first belly band, thus my decision to remove the pockets, slice off 5 inches down from the "waist", re-add new stretchy and my pockets of choice—it turned out great. Well, turned out great considering my novice tailoring skills. The skirt is not perfect, but it's comfortable, and at this point in pregnancy comfort is paramount. Anything binding can put me in a foul mood. By the way, it is hard to pin pieces to oneself with a ginormous belly…but I worked it in pure comic fashion squeezing my reflection in the lone terrified mirror. The effort caused me to wonder about body-forms, and what tailoring one's own maternity wear for the duration would be like. Do they make maternity attachments for the forms?

The most comfortable and practical items I purchased are ruched-side tops. One lovely red top I splurged on, A Pea In the Pod ($$!), still fits comfortably and is made from wonderfully soft, stretchy, cotton blend…yet to be determined the postpartum use "nursability" of this top. The two ruched under-tanks I picked up at Target have been indispensable. The "tails" are long enough with the gathered sides to cover the belly + uggo-band of maternity pant (even now as my shape has become more ridiculous) and thin/comfy enough to wear consistently as an undershirt. I did pick up one so-called maternity-to-nursing top from Lilac via MamaBargains, which, as of right now is cozy in the "On Our Way" bag with other hospital essentials. The maternity-to-post-partum jeans I purchased in the same transaction were a total fail, to my guttural dismay—currently consigned at Childish Things, Boulder's premier consignment shop. Otherwise, yoga pants, homemade skirts (below), and the sale-find of bigger soft jeans are my answer for the final big belly countdown.

I had a fabulous idea to hit the thrift store for bigger skirts to convert to belly-wear. I triumphed wonderfully with my first attempt. But the other two possibilities just weren't cooperative, and will most likely be relegated to material for Miss Monkey's wardrobe. It was a completely new experience going through a thrift store with an eye for the material rather than the items themselves. I turned a sheet into 2 changing pad covers, with enough left over to make a night gown for F. Her birthday, sew close, I will (hopefully) finish the newest Papa's Shirt Dress—really only part of a shirt combined with a print she picked herself—possibly with a little hat to match, per her request.
I am so grateful for creative outlets in this interim time!

Big Belly Krewe
<--------jean convert &
thrifty find-------->

Collection of Monkey Skirts;

converted from dress, from larger size, tiered from a pattern.

*sigh* there is just no way to keep my ankles from looking pregnant too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

...and we wait.

I dislike waiting. But there's nothing to be done about it at this point. Today was a day I awoke with energy, decided to make pancake breakfast with eggs, get some things done. The Man cleaned the car thoroughly (My HERO!) and we've attempted to position the unused car seat rear-facing but have yet to find out if the big Britax we splurged on almost 4 years ago will even work properly in the Escape.

There are other days that it's completely opposite. Waking up is hard to do, everything is extra heavy, and I'm feeling home-bound and seriously tired. It's the beginning of the end, less than 3 weeks til the (40) week due date, technically we're deliverable any time now. I find myself caught between optimistic excitement of this pregnancy finally being over, getting to meet the new person; and the natural anxiety around labor and delivery. I keep reminding myself that I did it once, it'll most likely happen essentially the same way again. My habit is to question my memory, did I really do that well? was it really just the 8 hours or so? was it really that simple? If I allow self-doubt to creep in, then fear can get a foothold and there's a bit of a trek back from that flawed thinking. So I visualize the whole process, from leaving the house(or wherever) either by waters breaking or steady predictable contractions, to the beautiful Exempla Good Samaritan Center for Childbirth...and then one contraction at a time until the inevitable arrival of The New One in my arms. After that, my only expectations are of new challenges and growth opportunities...and maybe a breakfast or two in bed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Cloth or Not to Cloth

Cloth diapering that is. I first heard about cloth diapers from my mom, who liked to remind me now and then that I never once had a disposable diaper on my bum. I had been considering the question of whether to cloth diaper ever since Miss Monkey was born. I bought several all in one diapers to test them out, then gave them away when we decided to move from Maui as I had fallen in love with gDiapers and their flushable system.

After diggin' the G's for a while, and discovering that we could NOT flush them in the lovely historic building we lived in, let alone anywhere with septic or plumbing older than 10 years---I sat down one day after we moved to Colorado, and made 3 columns on a piece of paper. One for disposable diapers, one for gDiapers (a nice hybrid diaper), and one for Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers. For just one year of diapering, based on an average number of diapers used at that time (she was ~1 year old) Fuzzi Bunz, fully a cloth pocket diaper, won out completely. Cloth is a one time purchase. So, the total cost of the diapers eventually goes to nil. The more often they're used, the more children they're used with makes cloth the most cost effective diaper available. Presenting this to My Loving Husband, showing him how much money we'd save, seemed to win him over for a time.

Now, in appreciation of being "green" one must consider the ecology of the area. On Maui, where water is scarce, but so is land, cloth is a more viable option for the most part. It's probably greener out there to avoid contributing to the garbarge dump, and use water instead. If a mama really wanted to be green out there though, she'd consider elimination communication. Here in Colorado, water is scarce, and land is bountiful. So, one might conclude that compostable diapers are the best bet (i.e. GroBaby BioSoakers, OR gDiapers inserts). The problem is, truly composting a diaper insert means be exposing it to the elements, burying waste doesn't help it decompose faster. So considering where we live now, a compostable diaper would be ideal---and easiest to convince The Man to use as it is essentially "disposable" after depositing the solids in the toilet. The main difference, for instance the Biosoaker, has much less mass to it than the typical disposable diaper. The most important absorbent part of the diaper is used ,disposed of, and the shell is re-used cutting back on the overall amount of garbage created. The Man cares little about being green (taking in to account the gimmicky commercialization that being Green has undergone), so this is not an easy sell. Convenience is a main point to me, what a lovely system to just wash and re-use and never have to venture out with newborn & preschooler in tow to purchase more diapers! Again, he cares little for the convenience, and his common complaint is the ammonia smell cropping up when the dirties are left for a day too long (incidentally, washing with a cup or so of vinegar remedies this issue perfectly).

So we are at an impasse, he has a decision and so do I...it's just not the same decision. Because I want to change diapering "systems" for Baby, going to a one size shell system---less laundry and won't have to purchase more diapers in the future due to outgrowth. Our current budget mayn't allow for the purchase, so I'm entering contests and cruising Freecycle, CraigsList, etc. Currently there is a contest at TheClothDiaperWhisperer.com, it's their 9th Birthday and they're celebrating by giving diapers away, HOORAY!
Maybe I'll get lucky.