Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, happy day!

July 25 will mark my third anniversary of blogging. I've never recognized a blogiversary before but as I was putting together my list of 32 things I realized just how long I had been at this. Like I said then, I've never been a good diarist or journalizer. (I knew diarist was a word but had to use dictionary.com to find a word for 'person who keeps a journal'.) Writing about myself is pretty boring. And writing about myself in a small book that noone but me will ever read is even more boring. Blogging is way more fun. Is there a third blog in my future? I could call it "The MellyP". Actually, that sounds like the perfect name for a sailboat. But seriously, before anyone (Emily) stresses about having to check a THIRD blog, I would never do it. Two is enough. Besides, I've been doing better about finding ways to incorporate more of me into the boys' blogs.

Anyway, back to our upcoming blogiversary...the traditional gift for a third wedding anniversary is leather goods, while the modern equivalent is apparently crystal or glass. What, I wonder, is the blogosphere equivalent? Should I do something special to mark our third blogiversary? Or should I just let it slip silently by as I did with the first and second? I need opinions, people!

Let me hear it...how should I mark this special occasion? Is it even special enough to mark? Leave me a comment and let me know.

By the by, the comment-leaving has left a little something to be desired lately. I can always count on my mom, but otherwise, they've been few and far between. Makes me wonder, do I have any readers out there at all?

:(

Oh, and this is too funny not to post. A couple months ago I finally told Braeden about his blog. I wasn't sure if he'd get it, but he always wants to look at photos (of him) so one day I showed him the photos on here. And a new obsession was born. He asks me all the time if he can watch the video of him singing the Wee Why Rocky Rump song.

On the day my dad left and I came upstairs after Braeden's quiet time, I made Gage's bitty blanket. Braeden went in Gage's room and dug out the Elmo phone. We bought that silly phone for Braeden at a yard sale one of our neighbors had back when Bray was just a little older than Gage. So, I'm sewing and Braeden is sitting on the futon talking to Elmo. I'm only half-listening until I hear him say 'blog' and then I perked right up! Here's what he had to say...

"Well, you'll just have to look on the blog, Elmo."

Couldn't you just die? He's probably heard me say that about a hundred times to my mom. But I'm always surprised when he repeats something as grown-up as that.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Four months old

I've been taking pictures of Gage each month in the same onesie. I love his pose in this four-month picture!

Tuesday morning I took Gage to the doctor for his four-month check-up. Mat and I really, really like the boys' pediatrician. I like that she remembers Braeden and everything he went through. It's nothing more than you should expect from your doctor, but I appreciate it. I feel like our boys are in good hands with her.

Not much happened at this morning's appointment, so I'll get straight to the good stuff. Gage weighed 12 pounds 3 ounces. He gained two pounds since his two-month appointment. While I forgot to ask about percentiles, the doctor said that two pounds in two months at this age was right on target. They measured his length at 25 inches and his head circumference was 16 inches. I can tell you that his head size is in the 50th percentile. The doctor laughingly brought up Braeden's head size--how it always measured off the charts! That's why I like our doctor. She remembers something little like how big Braeden's head is. I like that we can laugh about it together.

It's fun to look back and compare Gage's development to Braeden's, so I pulled out B's baby book to check on the numbers. At his four-month appointment, Braeden weighed just 11 lbs 10 oz and measured 24 1/4 inches long.

Here's a picture I found of Braeden at four months old. If you look closely, you'll see that Mat's pant leg is wet. Braeden spit up every time we sat him up. Not just a little dribble like Gage might, but enough to soak a pair of carhartts. The first thing I notice looking at this is how Bray's eyes look kind of sunken. It takes me right back to those early months when I had to bring him in to the doctor's office week after week for weight checks. The frustration I felt when he would go weeks at a time without gaining anything. It's just amazing how far we've come.

Today Gage and I went to Greensboro for lunch with Emily. Fun as always...a little gossip, some stories about our kids, lots of talk about boobs, and even some breastfeeding. Then we went over to the Fresh Market. So much fun. I bought treats for everyone--beautiful strawberries from a local farm for me, a bar of chocolate that's 99% cocoa for Mat, gummy alphabet letters for Braeden, and whole wheat knot rolls for our dinner.

When we got home, I tackled a new project. Emily asked about my other project, the one I blogged about here. I had to admit that I haven't tried making buttonholes yet. Instead of taking on that challenge, I decided to make baby pants. I found a tutorial online that seemed easy enough. And I knew exactly what fabric to use...Braeden's old crib sheet!

I loved, loved, LOVED Braeden's bedding. It's this sweet green and white toile print. I'm planning to sell the bedding set (comforter, bedskirt, and bumper) but the sheet was pretty worn. So I got brave and cut it up this afternoon. And now it's a pair of pants!

Here's a (staged!) picture of me at work.


And here's the finished product.


And this is the fun/silly stitch I used for the waistband and hem on the legs. I'm not sure you can see the stitch unless you click on the picture first to enlarge it.


While working on these pants, I learned that my sewing machine (a Kenmore, not a Singer like I previously said) DOES have a serging stitch so these pants have finished seams inside. How cool is that??? I almost took a picture, that's how much I love my serged seams. :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Flickr: Love it or hate it

My creation

I snapped these pictures tonight while Gage was in his swing. He had been sleeping. When he woke up, instead of trying to get him to fall back asleep, I took pictures. :) I love how blue his eyes are. I really, really hope they stay that blue. Super-long lashes and baby blues, what girl could resist?

I saw a mosaic on someone else's blog and loved it. But since it's a flickr thing it was much, much harder than it needed to be. I love what you can do with flickr, but I hate using the stupid program. It took me forever to make the slideshow and get it to embed right in the blog. And it was the same thing all over again with the mosaic. But it's done. And it looks cool. So I'll stop complaining and just admire the finished product. And that beautiful baby.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fluff

Moms who use cloth (AKA fluff) on their kids love to share pictures of their stash with others. My stash has been a moving target since I started so I've been holding off on showing pictures.

Early on I bought a few diapers on the swap so I could find the right combination for us. And as we used them, I came to terms with what I liked or didn't like about each of them. Before I started using cloth I knew I wanted to use fitteds (cloth that doesn't have a waterproof outer and therefore requires a cover). I thought they were so pretty, especially the ones that were undyed. I've posted a picture of Gage in a Kissaluv fitted before. Around the house, I skip the cover and change him when the top feels wet. I bought three of these on the swap, and they should fit him until he weighs about 20 pounds. Cool.

The first diapers I bought were a happy heiny (my cow print diaper) and a Thirsties. I love both. I did have an issue with my Thirsties, though. The velcro was starting to come undone, so I sent it back to be repaired and am waiting to get it back. I miss it! In the meantime, I ordered another one but the package is MIA (the official term from the site I ordered it from). They're sending another in a different color, just in case the first one comes. Then I'll have three which makes me happy since I really love their absorbency and the way they fit Gage.

Emily's favorite diapers are bumGenius! one-size diapers (which means you can use the same diaper on an eight-pound baby and a 35-pound toddler. I bought two to try and didn't love them at first. I was determined to make them work. Emily wouldn't love them if they were crap. And neither would all the other moms who use them and swear by them. After a while, I had a stuffing epiphany and now I'm on board. We were using the two bGs as our overnight diaper and they are amazing for that! So I bought three more and am so happy to have them all clean and waiting to be used. Gage is wearing the yellow one tonight!

And we're still using the gDiapers. Those are the Mat-friendly diapers. He knows how to put them on and how to dispose of them. And when I add a doubler to the insert, they work great for trips away from home.

When I get my repaired Thirsties back and whatever new ones make it to the house, I'll post a picture of the full stash. Something to look forward to, right?!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trip to the dentist

Tuesday morning Mat took Braeden to the dentist. He's been twice before (you can reread those stories here and here). Our first two trips didn't exactly go swimmingly. But this one, this one was perfect. And wouldn't you know it...I wasn't there. I'm sure it wasn't me. No, it must be that Bray's older now, more mature. Right?

Mat called me as they were leaving the office to give me the update. I was so happy to hear they had done well. And the other night I asked Mat to write up the story of Braeden's dental appointment to post on his blog.

In Mat's words...

So, this past Tuesday was Bray’s dentist appointment, and I must say that I was a little worried. His past experiences with the dentist have not been good ones, and I was taking him by myself to see Dr. Rafael that morning. When we got up, I mentioned to him that he was going to the dentist before school, and he seemed pretty cool with it. He kept talking about getting up in the chair and getting a treat at the end (they have a bin of crappy little toys and things for the kids to take on the way out).

When it was time to go, he announced to (a sleeping) Melly and Gage that he was going to the dentist, and we were off. When we got to the office, he seemed to remember being there before, and much to my surprise, he ran right in to the waiting room. We signed in, and he looked at a car magazine and pointed out the different cars to me. Soon, a hygienist came out and called Bray’s name, and he ran into the examination area and hopped right up into the chair. This surprised both the hygienist and me, and she commented on how eager he seemed to be.

Spongebob (and then later, Dora) was on the TV in the exam room, so Bray was immediately engrossed in his favorite TV shows, and let the dentist and hygienist do their work without a single complaint. Well, OK, there was one complaint. Apparently, he remembered wearing sunglasses there, because he wouldn’t let them work in his mouth until they found a pair of sunglasses for him to wear. But once that was done, he was perfect. All 20 teeth were poked, scraped of plaque, cleaned, and flossed without difficulty. The hygienist tried to take X-rays, but the bulky film turned out to be too much for Bray to handle, he kept choking on it and spitting it out, so she eventually gave up. At the end of the visit, Bray got a new Dora toothbrush, floss, a sticker, and a Darth Vader pencil, so he was a very happy boy.

Me again...I can't believe he remembered the sunglasses. Last fall when I took him they gave him a little pair of sunglasses because that big light they use was so bright. It was shining right in his eyes and he was really uncomfortable. I had forgotten all about it until I read Mat's account.

Speaking of Spongebob...A while back I bought Braeden a new hooded towel. Here's a cute picture of him wearing the towel after his bath.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just like P-Pa

After my dad's visit we noticed Braeden had picked up a new habit. I guess you could call it a habit. Mat was the first to notice. And once he pointed it out to me, I can't help but notice each time he does it.

When Braeden would ask my dad a question (usually one beginning with every parent's least favorite word, why) or suggest some new activity, dad would say, "Well..."

And now, Braeden says it too! It's not just that he says the word, though. Braeden also draws it out the way my dad does. So it sounds kind of like, "Weelllll". Maybe I can capture it on video for you.

But in the meantime, here's a typical conversation:

Mat: Bray, it's time to pick up your cars so we can go outside.
Braeden: Well, first I need to jump off the couch one more time.

M: No, Braeden. Pick up the cars. It's time to go outside.
B: Well, I have to give Gage a kiss.

M: Braeden. Pick up your cars. We're not going outside until you pick up the cars.
B: Well, I want to go outside.

M: Then pick up your cars. Now.
B: Well, you have to help me.

OK. I think you get the idea. And please don't think I exaggerated that conversation. You can hear that exact scene play out in our house a hundred times each week! Just substitute Target, dinner, or bed for outside and cooking stuff, (play) food, or books for cars. We love that Braeden has gotten better at reasoning, rationalizing, and remembering (the three R's!), but it's also made every conversation, every request, every everything a lot more work and so much more time-consuming.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bed time

We're working out a new nighttime routine for Gage now. The old routine had me nursing Gage at 7:30 or 8:00 before putting him in his swing for a loooong nap. When I was ready for bed, I would take him in with me, change him into his sleepy clothes, and nurse him in bed. And at some point, we both fall asleep. Usually around midnight.

A few nights ago I decided it was time to transition to something new. Last night I nursed him in bed at 9:30. When he finished, I moved him into the cosleeper and he slept until 3:30 AM! That may sound like some form of government-approved torture (Thank you, George Bush!) to most of you, but anyone with a baby will celebrate with me!

This is our third night of the new routine. I'm excited to see how it goes tonight. While I'm excited Gage is sleeping longer at night, I'm also sad because I know it means he'll need to move upstairs to his own room soon. Braeden left our bed at six months, so I've been using that as a benchmark. That was about the right time because Braeden had become an active sleeper. Mat and I weren't getting nearly enough rest what with the kicking and arm-thrashing Braeden would do all night long. Gage doesn't do any of that. Right now, anyway. If he stays a quiet sleeper, maybe he can sleep with us longer. :)

I started work on my pattern project today. While Gage was napping in his swing, I very carefully cut out the three pattern pieces. What insane sadist came up with that superfine tissue paper for patterns? After the pattern cutting, I headed upstairs and cut the fabric and batting. I wasn't sure what kind of batting to buy so I asked the woman cutting my fabric at JoAnn's. She recommended cotton since I was making something for a baby. I ran back to the batting section and grabbed a bag hoping it would be enough. Well, now I have batting for a bunch of future projects! And this stuff is soft. Really soft. Like blanket soft.

Once I got done admiring my batting (which will ultimately go inside my fabric, never to be seen or felt by anyone), I started sewing. I'm not a person who is good at following directions. I learn by doing. Reading through the pattern steps and trying to decipher the pictures isn't easy for me. I work better if I know what the final product should look like. Like the bibs or the burp cloths I made...those were easy because I knew what the finished product would look like, so the directions made sense. In this case, I've never made this project before so I'm really flying blind. Tomorrow I need to slipstich my project closed. And then, I have to make buttonholes. And I'm scared silly! Not only do the instructions for making buttonholes seem complicated, they need to be placed just right to work. It's a lot of pressure!

Hopefully, there will be photos of my work tomorrow! Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mommy, I want to stay home with you today.

Nine words that will make a mommy's heart melt every time. :)

Braeden said those words to me Thursday morning. He came in to my bedroom where Gage and I were nursing/sleeping and asked to stay with us instead of going to school. How could I say no? Mat was worried it would start some kind of precedent, but I don't care about that. All I care about is that my baby wanted to stay home with me instead of going to school to play with his friends.

So, Mat went off to work and Braeden snuggled under the covers with me while I finished nursing Gage. Then I turned on the TV in our bedroom so he could watch Curious George and Clifford while I showered and dried my hair. Gage came in with me; he sits in his carseat while I shower and do my hair. It's part of our routine. And I really think he likes it. He's never fussed while I'm in the shower. If he starts up, I just talk to him. But I think he likes the sound of the fan and the water. Plus it's warm and steamy in the bathroom which probably feels nice.

When I was finished, Braeden helped me eat my breakfast. That kid may look small, but he can sure put it away! I decided we should make granola. It's a good project for us, one we've done together before. Braeden likes being my helper. He tells me so on a pretty regular basis. We each made a little mess, but I cleaned them up pretty well.

After the granola had come out of the oven, we heard some commotion outside. I sent Braeden to look and he announced that there was a truck at our neighbor Bill's house. I assumed it was a FedEx truck, but when I looked I saw it was a dump truck delivering mulch. Since it was so sunny and warm out, we headed outside to watch the action. Bill and his girlfriend Megan want to be project people but they have very little follow-through. :) A year ago they drew outlines in their backyard for two large flower beds but never went any further than that. But now they're moving forward, so the dump truck was there to deliver mulch for their front beds and was going to make a second trip with topsoil for the new beds in the back. Braeden was THRILLED! We sat in the driveway and watched Bill work.

I think I've said this before, but we have terrific neighbors! They are all so sweet and patient with Braeden. We really lucked out.

After lunch, Braeden had quiet time upstairs and then we went to the park. He played in the sandbox for a long time. I don't mind him playing in the sand but I wished he had been the only kid in the box. One of the toughest parts of being a parent is watching your kid interact with someone else's kid. It's bad enough worrying your kid will be a bully or do something naughty. But what happens when the other kid is a brat?

On Thursday, Braeden behaved perfectly in the sandbox. Sitting on the edge of the sandbox with a bucket and shovel, he filled the bucket and told me it was cake. Cake for me. The other kids were flinging sand around, jumping into the sand from the edge, trying to knock each other down, and then trying to bury one of the bigger boys in the sand. Where were their parents? Well, there was a group of moms sitting under the shelter about 15-20 feet away. They had brought their own lounge chairs. They had coolers, magazines, and a radio. And they didn't seem at all interested in what their kids were doing in the sandbox leaving me as the only authority figure. And I'm wearing Gage in the Moby so I'm trying to stand back so he doesn't ingest sand or get it in his eyes. When their behavior got particularly bad or dangerous I had to step in and say something. And finally I told Braeden I thought he needed to play with something else until the bigger kids left the sandbox.

We moved on and Braeden climbed the rock wall, slid down the slides, and drove the ambulance. Plus he was in the shade more, so I felt much better! Still annoyed at the way those other moms and their kids behaved, but calmer because my kid wasn't at their mercy any longer.

This morning we took Braeden to the children's museum because there was a special Hot Wheels thing happening. Some people came in and set up a racetrack. The track looked like a ski jump...the kids climbed up three steps and placed their cars at the top. A man lifted a plexiglass panel and the cars rolled down the track towards the finish line. There was a digital thing set up to note which car came in first, second, third, or fourth place and a woman at the end who picked up the cars for the kids. And the best part? You could bring your own cars to race (which we did) but there was also a man who had a bunch of cars in boxes that the kids could pick from.

Braeden wasn't sure he wanted to play at first. He was hell-bent on playing with his usual stuff (the firetruck!) that he pitched a little fit. But on this occasion, I was more determined than he was. He perked up a little when he realized he could get a new car out of the deal. He picked out some kind of old Chevy station wagon which turned out to be a really, REALLY slow car. Not that Braeden cared! We did the first race together, but after that, Braeden was hooked. He would place his new car and one from home in the tracks and watch them start off. Then he would run down to the finish line dodging parents and other kids to get his cars again, then run back to the stairs to start over again. We had to make sure he took his turn nicely and didn't run into anyone, but he was very good.

I think he did 10 or 12 runs before he got bored and wanted to ride the firetruck. All in all, we were at the museum for a little more than an hour before making a quick (to me) trip to JoAnn's. They had patterns on sale for $.99! For less than a buck, I bought a pattern that regularly sells for $15.95! I saved almost $15! My fabric was on sale as was the batting, so all told, I spent just shy of $10. I'm going to tell you what I'm making, but I hope to be done soon and will post all the gory details on Gage's blog. While this isn't my first time using a store-bought pattern, it is the first time I've carefully read the entire set of instructions before beginning. It's also the first time I really understand the steps and the instructions. I feel pretty confident about this.

Famous last words!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More craftsy cuteness

I know, I know. I swore this wouldn't turn into my crafting blog but I've had a lot of time on my hands so I've been in project mode. :)

I've shown off my dish towel tote bags, the too-small hat I knit for Gage, Gage's baby legs, and the bitty blanket I made him. (I tore out my really sad slipstitches and redid them. It looks a lot better now!) And now I'm proud to say I can make bibs and burp cloths too!

In an earlier post I mentioned that my neighbor Michelle had her baby girl last week. She was a few days overdue and in a lot of discomfort so her doctor induced her. She had the baby okay but then her placenta wouldn't deliver. I've never heard of that...both times, mine just slid out. TMI? Oh well. Anyway, it took 30 minutes, a nurse pushing on Michelle's abdomen, her doctor internally manipulating the placenta, and a very big episiotomy to get her placenta out. Nuts, right?

Anyway, three or four months ago we took over a present, an outfit and a super-soft lovey blanket but after meeting Kendall for myself I wanted to do something else. I thought I might make her a bitty blanket like Gage's. But then I saw some sweet burp cloths on a blog and thought "I can make those!" Mostly I knew I could make them because the blogger included step-by-step directions. But honestly, I could have made them without, they were that easy. I made two today. The second one took just 20 minutes. The hardest part was cutting the edges so that they would fray. My hand hurt after a while! And my scissors seemed to get tighter the more little cuts I made. I guess they hurt too!

Michelle's husband, Shaler, is a golfer. In fact, while I was meeting Kendall for the first time I was also watching the end of the Masters tournament. The guy who won was actually pretty cute! Shaler is a member at the golf course up the street and plays often. It's funny to me because he drives a big pick-up truck and is an avid hunter with a garage full of camo and ATVs. And then sometimes he gets all dressed up in khakis and a golf shirt to play at the upscale club up the street.

When I was at JoAnn's I found this really sweet flannel print with golf clubs, balls, and little stars. For the reverse side, I chose a girly pink and white striped flannel. I've developed a little thing for flannel. It's just so soft. :)

And here are the two burp cloths I made.


I bought a more boyish striped flannel, too, so I could make a few for me. For Gage, I mean! I figured I would use the dotted flannel (like on his blanket) for the reverse side.

There's so much fabric to look at in JoAnn's, but I really wish they would include signs to tell you what kinds of things you could make with each type. It would make the rows and rows of fabric a lot more accessible to beginners like me! At the back of the store there was a big clearance section where they just threw all the sale fabrics together. It was a mess, but one fabric jumped out at me. And when I touched it, I realized it was flannel and I knew I had to buy it! And here's what I've done with it so far...


You probably remember the diaper from an earlier post...I made the bib with my fabulous, clearance cow print flannel! I used super-soft white chenille for the back. The whole bib is so soft. I love to touch it! And I know it must have felt so great on cutie-patootie, diaper-clad baby boy! You can see how much he loved touching it too. In fact, I took about 10 shots of him with the bib and in every one but this one, he had twisted the bib up in his hands, shoved it in his mouth, or covered his face with it.

Future uses of my two-plus yards of cow print flannel? I'm thinking of making a couple burp cloths (since they're sooo easy), a hat for the fall, and a pair of pants. The possibilities are truly endless!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Totally awesome experience!

I've decided to really embrace the fact that I have two blogs and not stress about whether or not I should consolidate or how I would even go about doing that. I like having two blogs. I like the personalities of the two. (This is totally random, but I like that I think something inanimate like a blog can have a personality. It reminds me of high school English when we read this poem by Carl Sandburg and learned about personification. I'm a geek. I admit it.)

What's fun about two blogs is deciding where to post something. This story is getting posted on Gage's blog because I was originally planning to bring Gage with me and decided a few days beforehand that it was a bad idea. Friday I went to the Davis Cup Quarterfinal tie in Winston-Salem! Oh.my.gosh. It was phenomenal. There aren't words. I've already decided I'm going back as much as I can. According to my friend, Brian, this is the third time DC matches have been played in W-S, so there's an excellent chance they'll be back again and again. :)


Like I said, I was planning to take Gage but I was reminded that tennis is a quiet sport, during the points anyway. A baby crying would not be well-received by the chair, the players, or the other fans. Between points, the crowd is loud. And DC crowds are really loud. Raucous, in fact. What with the cow bells, drums, tambourines, and the noisemakers they give out to everyone who walks in the door, it was out of control. Gage would probably have been scared silly! So instead I scrambled to find a babysitter for him. Andrea, a student of Mat's and a former student worker in my office, was going out of town. Then I was nervous. But I e-mailed my friend, Lisa, and she was incredible. She thought of the perfect student. Well, almost perfect. Julie is a senior so our time with her is incredibly limited. :) Julie's mom is a childbirth educator and parenting coach. Nice, huh?

I LOVE tennis. Specifically, I LOVE men's tennis. I'll watch women's but I'm just not that into it. And on the men's side, I'm all about the Americans. During my childhood it was John McEnroe. For the last 10-12 years, most of my love has been for Andre Agassi who retired in 2006 after a great run at the US Open and the most touching farewell remarks following an EIGHT minute standing ovation. Sigh. I have two other favorites right now...Andy Roddick and James Blake. And Friday I had the chance to watch them both in action!




Andy is all about the big serve. He's recorded some of the fastest serves on record topping 140 mph! His ace count for Friday's match was 30! He completely dominated his French opponent winning in straight sets in just over two hours. Then it was time for James to take to the court. I had told Mat would be home by 7:00 (play started at 1:00). I honestly don't know what I was thinking. While Andy plays fast tennis (short points, lots of aces, and few second serves required), James is an entirely different story. His pace is slower. He plays much longer points. And he routinely drops sets so that his matches go to five sets.

Friday was no different. He was down double match point in the fifth, but held on and WON! It was tense. But those are the best matches, especially for the fans who are just looking for an opportunity to sit in uncomfortable chairs for almost four hours and scream till they're hoarse and jump to their feet to rally their guy to victory. Did I already say how awesome it was??

Oh, and Andy was rocking the mohawk! While James was wearing his stupid headband. I hate that headband.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

If Mrs. Worrell could see me now...


There was a time in the not-so-distant past when I wouldn't have believed I could create something. Sure, I can cook. And I can definitely bake. But sew? In eighth-grade home ec I made a blue skirt except I managed to sew all the seams together and ended up with a blue pillow instead. About six or seven years ago I was going through a phase, a pretty short-lived one, where I wanted to sew things. Mat's mom gave me a nice Singer sewing machine. I can remember making a pair of really ugly capri pants and a long sleeveless tank dress. And then I was done.

I don't remember feeling the desire to create things when I had Braeden. Maybe it was dealing with his reflux and poor weight gain. Those two issues consumed us for a long, long time. The weekly weight checks, extra laundry, and nightly interruptions of our sleep due to a crying baby in pain didn't leave a lot of time (or energy) for projects. Braeden soaked burp cloths faster than we could do laundry so we'd use dish towels for burp cloths. Kind of ironic that I'm making tote bags from dish towels this time around!

All this is to say my sewing machine is getting a lot more use these days. :)

My dad came down for a visit (see Braeden's blog for a full post on his visit) and left Thursday after lunch. Braeden was upstairs for about an hour for his quiet time when he began whining to come downstairs. Instead of letting him down, I offered to come up with Gage so I could put together the blanket. I was surprised, and a little impressed, at how quickly the blanket came together. The fabrics are so soft, what baby wouldn't want to snuggle with this blanket?! The ribbon loops are cute, although I might add more to each side if I make another. (And I am thinking of making more...like maybe one for my neighbor, Michelle, who had a baby girl last night!) If I do decide to make more, though, I'm going to need some hands-on training in slipstitching (aka the hand sewing required to finish the blanket after you pull it through itself...clear as mud, right?). My slipstitched corner looks like utter crap.

The good thing is I can always rip out my awful hand stitches when some sewing genius comes along to help me. :)

But the best part is Gage doesn't care what my slipstitches look like! He loves his new blanket.


And yes, under the blanket Gage is wearing a Kissaluv with no cover! I've found if I pay attention and we're just around the house, we can get away without a cover. And that makes me love fitted diapers again!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A visit from P-Pa

A few weeks ago my dad called to ask if he could fly down on Skybus for a visit. My mom had been down on Skybus at the end of February. It was an easy and quick flight and so easy for us to pick her up at the airport. Plus, Skybus was so cheap! Well, apparently it was too good to last. Skybus shut their doors last Friday, so dad had to rearrange his plans. Instead of flying, he drove down and arrived Tuesday morning around 9:30.

Braeden was so excited to see him! He brought presents and MeMa cookies for everyone. We just hung out at home Tuesday, but we did go to dinner at the Olive Garden that night. P-Pa LOVES the Olive Garden. Braeden likes their macaroni and cheese, and he was so excited to take P-Pa there.

Wednesday we all went to the Schmidt Park. Braeden loves the park. I've got some pictures from a trip Braeden took to the park with MeMa and P-Pa about a year and a half ago. In those pictures Braeden is climbing the climbing wall and so is P-Pa. Bray loves to look at those pictures, so I made sure the two of them climbed the wall again!




Braeden was obsessed with the sandbox, so much so that it was hard to get him out of it to play in other parts of the park. He built sandcastles, dug holes with a shovel, and "painted" the sandbox.


B and P-Pa also played on the swings. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more...what do you think?



P-Pa made us a special birthday dinner (I love how when my birthday stretches on and on)--meatloaf, baked potatoes, and summer squash. We bought a cake at Lowe's but had been looking for an ice cream cake which they didn't sell. So dad said he was going out for coffee but he really went up to the Food Lion to buy me an ice cream cake. Too sweet. So after dinner Braeden stuck candles in the cake, I lit them, and then P-Pa and B sang happy birthday to me. And then we got to eat the cake!

Thursday morning I dragged them to Michael's in search of iron-on letters for Gage's blanket. I couldn't find any I liked there, so I bought a fabric marker and might try to write his name on the blanket. The jury's still out on that one! I did find some great letters online. They're a buck a letter, not bad, but the shipping would have been 6 bucks! I hate paying shipping anyway, but I'm certainly not going to pay more for shipping than I'm paying for the product! And definitely not when the letters probably weigh 2 ounces!

After Michael's we ran over to Target to buy Braeden a new pair of sandals. Braeden being Braeden we bought the same pair he had last summer just in a larger size. And now that we have them home, he's refused to wear them both times I've suggested it. This kid HATES change!

When we finished up there, we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch. P-Pa's choice! He loves their chicken sandwiches and vanilla milkshakes. I've never been to a fast food place like Chick-fil-A. They have staff who come around and ask if you want a drink refill or if they can clear your trash. When we were there, someone was walking around with samples of their new coffee caramel milkshake. Sooo good. While we were eating, a guy came out in the giant cow costume. Fortunately he went right outside to stand by the street and wave to possible customers. Braeden is terrified (I don't think that's too strong a word to use here) of those guys in suits...the bird at Red Robin, the Easter Bunny at the egg hunts, and I'm sure he would have hated the cow if it had gotten close to him. But he loved watching the cow from the safety of the inside dining room when the cow was out by the street!

Then, unfortunately, it was time for P-Pa to leave. But it was a great visit. Really great.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A sweet little blanket for a sweet little boy


Pretty, right? These are the raw materials for my next project. I know I can make dish towel tote bags and baby legs, so it was time to branch out. There are a hundred things that I want to try, like dying prefolds or maybe just embellishing them with fabric! My skills, if you can even call them that, are incredibly limited though. But the other day I was on the babycenter message board looking through pictures of projects other moms had been working on and I found one I knew I could do.

One of the moms had made a small blanket for her daughter using really soft fabrics and ribbons. I thought about it for a minute or two and realized that it was so simple even I could figure out how to do it. I made a list of what I would need--ribbon, two soft materials in coordinating colors, thread, and some kind of personalization. This mom had written her baby's name on the blanket, so I knew I could just do that. But I also thought I would look around Jo-Ann's for some other way of personalizing the blanket. And it turns out they sell iron-on embroidered letters. The downside? I could get all the letters except the 'A'. I'm going to look at Michael's tomorrow, if I can drag my dad there! That's right, my dad is coming tomorrow! It's a really long story about Skybus, bankruptcy, and a serious change-of-plans, but he'll be here early tomorrow morning and will stay through Thursday afternoon! We can't wait!

Anyway, back to the project at hand. I bought this really soft, dotted material in blue and the polka-dotted material is soft flannel. I can't stop touching the fabrics, so I know Gage will love them too! I also bought a few different lengths of ribbon to cut into small loops and I'll sew those around the edges. I have some thinner ribbon left from hanging Gage's name sign in his room. (That reminds me, I never posted pictures of his room. Soon, I promise.) I thought I would use the leftover thinner ribbon to attach a rattle (maybe) or a teether (again, maybe). I have to see how it looks before I do anything permanent.

While I was at Jo-Ann's I found this great fabric. It's white cotton interlock with blue and red stars on it. It looked like a fabric you would see at Baby Gap! And I would LOVE to make baby clothes out of it. Like a short-sleeved romper. And a little hat. I found a pattern but before I spend $10 on it and however much on the fabric, I wanted some assurance that I could actually make something functional out of it. Something I wouldn't be embarrassed to take Gage out of the house in.

Can I do snaps? Do you just sew snaps on, or do you need some kind of special tool to attach them? And what the hell is a serger? I'm going to research sergers and overlocks, but someone please tell me about snaps!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Belties!

Last week Mat was on spring break so we decided to go somewhere for the day. We always felt like we couldn't go too far from home for too long because we were still working on potty training Braeden. But now that he can go to the bathroom wherever we are, it was time to get out of town!

We decided to go to Fearrington Village because I wanted Braeden to see the belted cows and goats. It's about 45 minutes from our house, an easy drive on the highway. I forgot the camera and didn't even think to snap any pics with my camera phone. Braeden loved looking at the cows and goats. There was even a young donkey chasing the baby cows around the pen. Too funny.

The Village is beautiful. Brick paths lined with flowers wind lazily around the shops that sell jewelry, knick-knacks, and books. In a nod to Elon, there were a ton of people weeding and watering the flowerbeds. We went in every shop (much to Mat's complete horror) and even bought a few things (even more upsetting to Mat). The greatest thing we bought was a book for Braeden. It is the sweetest, cutest, most wonderful book ever. I am completely in love with these two little pigs! Toot and Puddle. The drawings are wonderful and so is the writing, especially the friendship between two very different pigs. There are a bunch of books, a DVD, and even a game. I'm planning to get them all, that's how much I love Toot and Puddle.

We had a great lunch at the Belted Goat and just enjoyed the sunshine! Another highlight for me was buying the boys belted cow clothes--Braeden got a blue tee shirt and Gage got a white onesie. Braeden looks very sweet in his shirt and I can't wait for summer when Gage will be able to wear his beltie onesie!

We got home and Mat took advantage of the sun and warmth and washed his car. I brought my old Raggedy Ann and Andy blanket outside so I could sit with the boys and watch Mat work. Fun! It was so sunny Braeden decided he needed his sunglasses. I tried to convince him to wear his baseball cap, but that kid sure is stubborn about that hat. I love that it was warm enough for Gage to lay out in the sun in just his gDiaper. He fell asleep on my lap and I made Mat go in for the camera to capture this oh-so-sweet moment. (And don't worry, mom, I covered him up some after Mat took the picture!)

It was a great day!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Three months already


Baby Gage is three months old today! Goodness gracious. I get a little dizzy just thinking about it.

I started this post way back on March 27, Gage's three-month birthday. That should tell you just how far behind I am with my blogging! So, let's get on with it.

First, the facts. I took Gage in to the doctor's office for a weight check Wednesday, March 26. Since we were going to Fearrington Village on Thursday, I knew I wouldn't have time to do it on his three month birthday. First, we had lunch on campus with daddy then we visited the doctor's office. And what did Gage weigh?

11 pounds even. At two months he was 10 pounds 3 ounces. So this is good news. :) I didn't really need the scale to tell me my baby is growing up. We've transitioned him out of his newborn clothes and into 0-3 month and 3 month clothes.

Gage and I have had such a wonderful time over these past three months. We've done our fair share of shopping logging lots of time in Target, Starbucks, TJ Maxx, and Lowe's (the grocery store not the giant home improvement chain!). Mostly Target though! We've had lots of fun eating lunch with friends and going to Keno. And of course we've been to the pediatrician several times for appointments and periodic weight checks. And MeMa flew down here to visit at the end of February.

I know I mentioned this in my 32 things list, but I am so glad I'm a blogger. I love, love, LOVE looking back over past posts and reliving important or just plain silly moments. From the story of Gage's birth to one of his first real baths or his second bottle, I can easily look back over the last three months and remember exactly how we spent them. Add in hours of nursing, burping, and rocking; diaper changes and the switch to cloth; tummy time, laying on the play gym, and sitting in the bumbo; and all the hours I've spent watching him sleep and you can see just how full our days have been.

I wouldn't trade this time for anything. I have never been happier. I don't think our family has ever been happier either.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Is this the future???


Here's a picture (taken with my camera phone) at Zander's birthday party. This is Braeden and Makena riding in one of those bouncy rides. It's a Jeep. And it cost Makena's mom and me 50 cents per ride! That's outrageous, right?

Makena and Braeden are tight. The bestest of friends. Could they be a couple? Check back with me in about 13 years and I'll let you know!

Of course they'll have to settle the issue of who gets to drive...caused a little fight, but don't most couples fight over who's the better driver? For the record, in the Potter-Gendle household, it's me! Now Mat may tell you otherwise, but who are you going to believe? Besides, Mat doesn't write on the blog so he really doesn't have an outlet to spread his lies, now does he?!

Bowling Party

Saturday afternoon the whole family headed out to the local bowling alley for Zander's birthday party. Zander is probably, hands down, the sweetest kid ever. Every time I've seen him, he has run to me to give me a hug. He has a huge smile and an even bigger heart. He routinely brings toys from home to school, like six balls, and passes them out to his classmates so they can all play together. He has amaazing hair, too. Ringlets all over his head. And I'm not the only one who loves this kid. Zander is one of Braeden's closest friends at school. This was one of those parties we had to attend.

We weren't sure how the kids would do bowling. I knew they could put bumpers in the lane, but I didn't realize they had bowling shoes that small or balls that light. They even have a bunch of metal things that look like slides. You put your ball at the top then push it down the slide. The ball hits the lane with a great thud and then rolls, very slowly, towards the pins bouncing off the bumpers all the way down. And then your kid's ball actually knocks down pins. 67 in all for Braeden!

Bad mommy that I am, I forgot the camera. In the good mommy column, I always carry my cell which actually takes pretty good pictures. These next few posts show the progression of Braeden bowling.

My kid can bowl. And the best part of all this? Bray's MeMa LOVES to bowl. She has her own shoes. And her own ball. And a bag just for the ball and shoes. She bowls once a week with a school league and gets awards at an annual banquet. Now MeMa can take Braeden bowling sometime! And if I get to go too, I promise to remember the real camera.

Anyway, here's Braeden getting his ball off the ball thing. (What is that stupid thing called??)



The girl in the picture is Zander's older sister, Bre.
Here he is carrying the ball, all by himself, to the slide thing. I know, so technical, right?

I had to help him get the ball on to the top of the slide thing because he couldn't lift the ball that high. Aahhh...he still needs me for something. :)

Top notch photographer that I am, I managed to capture quite an action shot!


The funny thing is, none of the kids cared about the ball after it left the slide thing. Each one of them pushed the ball, watched it hit the lane, then hightailed it back to the ball thing to wait for the ball to pop up from under the alley. They LOVED that part. When a ball would pop up, Braeden, Makena, and Zander would screech with laughter.

And that was my favorite part of bowling!

32 things


In an effort to embrace my birthday this year I've made a list of 32 things that make me happy. :)

1. My boys--Mat who knows me better than anyone, Braeden whose sunny disposition and sweet laugh make my heart burst with love, and Gage, my smiley, chill baby boy
2. My family--we know each other so well and have shared so many silly, funny, sweet, and just ridiculous moments over the years
3. Cool fall days in NY when the air is so crisp it's almost hard to catch your breath...the air smells so clean and the leaves are shades of fire--reds, oranges, and yellows
4. Driving with the windows down on warm days blasting Springsteen
5. Daffodils, but especially mine--I love that for months at a time they lie dormant under the ground, but come the start of spring little green buds pop up from the dirt and grow into sunny flowers
6. Opening my kitchen cabinet to see all of my Fiestaware plates, bowls, and mugs. I LOVE seeing all those colors mixed together!


7. My most favorite holiday of the year--Thanksgiving. I love that it takes days, sometimes even weeks, to prepare for it. A day of football and stuffing yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and butternut squash...who isn't just over the moon for this holiday?!
8. Blogging...I love posting silly stories, videos, and beautiful pictures of my boys on their blogs. I've never written in a diary for more than a month but I've been blogging for three years now! I'm incredibly proud of myself for that.
9. Breastfeeding. While I was pg with Braeden I knew I would nurse him and I was certain it would work for us. It did, and I stuck with it for 15 months. I would have gone longer, but Braeden chose that point to wean himself and who was I to argue with him? It's even easier with Gage because he doesn't have reflux. I have every confidence we'll go just as long as B and I did.
10. I LOVE the beach, actually the ocean. I love staying right on the beach so I can fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up the same way. I love the feel of sand under my feet. And I love that Braeden loves the beach.
11. My kitchen and the things I make in it make me so happy. We bought this house for its kitchen. I picked out the countertops, cabinets and hardware, and appliances. Braeden has begun helping me in the kitchen, measuring ingredients and stirring things. I love sharing this passion of mine with him.
12. Bags, purses, totes, wristlets, all of them. I LOVE bags. I love shopping for new bags. And I love going through my stash and rediscovering old favorites. I definitely get this from my mom!
13. This picture makes me happy!


This is my dad's mom when she was a young woman. I love thinking of her this way!
14. My Super Bowl champion NY Giants make me so very happy! Since I've blogged about them before (here and here), I won't go into it again except to say who would have thought they'd be the winners and the Patriots would have been the team going quietly into the night with heads held low??
15. My friends. It took moving to North Carolina to reconnect with two friends from childhood. And once I got here, I made some great friends at Elon, truly the best thing to come of working there.
16. Bargains make me happy. I hate paying full price for anything. I love TJ Maxx and Marshall's. I love shopping at outlet stores. I sign up for e-mails from my favorite stores for the coupons and special sales. And I love rewards cards and accumulating points for free stuff.
17. The internet makes me happy. It's great for bargain-hunting! I get my news from the internet, the serious stuff from the NY Times and CNN and the not-so-serious stuff from Perez, Pink, and People. :) There are so many blogs to read, sites to explore, and message boards to stalk. When my internet connection is down, I feel lost. Disconnected.
18. Being greener makes me happy. Making my own tote bags from dish towels to use while shopping. Using a refillable travel mug at Starbucks. Quitting disposable diapers for gDiapers and cloth. Decreasing our water consumption. And hopefully raising children who respect this planet (and the other people on it) enough to do all that they can to ensure it's protected.
19. Books. Books make me happy.
20. Cloth diapers...I know that one sounds strange. But there are so many really cute diapers out there. There's honestly something for everyone. Diapers with skulls. Diapers to show off your alma mater. Diapers with cow prints!


And so many of them are made by WHAMs (work at home moms); it makes me feel good to support their efforts.
21. Really, really good TV like The West Wing...This was, hands down, the BEST show on TV. Ever. So smart. Thank you, Aaron Sorkin. It never hurt that it depicted a liberal White House full of smart, passionate, people trying to make the world better. Or that the actors who played those people were so good. And so good-looking!
22. Talking to Braeden. This is a work in progress for us. His language skills are getting SO much better. We can really carry on conversations now. He's always repeated back things he hears (whack the badger) but lately he's been using really grown-up expressions in the right way. The other day we went shopping at Old Navy to get something for his friend Makena's birthday. Makena's mom didn't want toys and I was only too happy to buy her clothes! Anyway, I picked up a cute little dress and asked Braeden if we should get it for Makena. He said, "Let's get that for Makena. She'll look cute in that." One day he told me I should wear a certain shirt because I would look pretty in it. :)
23. Getting a perfect score at a NYSSMA competition playing Claude Debussy's The Little Shepherd. I honestly have no idea what made me remember this, but I smile remembering that day. In addition to playing the piece perfectly, I also had to do scales and sightreading. I remember walking out with my perfect score and rushing to call Sylvia, my piano teacher. She had the sweetest miniature schnauzers, Hector and Sarah, that she kept shaved. They were so soft. Because of her, I have always wanted a miniature schnauzer!
24. Going out to eat ALWAYS makes me happy!
25. Using my dish towel totes makes me proud (and happy). Emily mentioned wanting to see a picture of the new one I made with the towels from Target. I used it when we went to Fearrington Village last week (post coming soon on Little Boy Braeden, I promise) to carry extra clothes (in case of accidents).


The longer handles are nice so I can put the bag over my shoulder.
26. Watching Braeden play with his friends...this weekend we went to a birthday party for his friend, Zander, at a local bowling alley. Zander, Braeden, and Makena loved watching the ball pop up after it had been bowled (I don't know what that thing is called). They would lean down and just wait till a ball would pop up and then laugh with these huge open-mouthed smiles. Idiot that I am, I left my camera home. I snapped some pics with my cell phone, though, and I promise to post those to B's blog too.
27. Watching my babies sleep. They look so sweet. Some of my favorite moments with my boys has been when they've fallen asleep in my lap after nursing. Both boys have these fantastic lashes, thick and long, very full lips, and perfect skin. After nursing, they smile in their sleep which I always think of as their way of saying thank you. :)
28. Not being at Elon anymore makes me pretty happy!
29. Being from NY has always made me happy. I don't think I'm wrong when I say it's the best state. And growing up in Rhinebeck was the best part. The Hudson River is gorgeous. NYC is less than two hours away by train. And there's so much history the Hudson River Valley--beautiful, old homes once owned by the Roosevelts and the Vanderbilts. There's even a school of art named for my home region--the Hudson River School. One of the most famous was Frederic Church who built this INCREDIBLE house overlooking the river.


30. Coffee. These are in no order, really, but I can't believe coffee came in so late on the list! Mochas, lattes, iced, anything.
31. That my kids are so loved...by Mat and me, by our parents, our brothers and sisters, by their great-grandmother, and by our friends. And I know that they will grow up to be beautiful people, inside and out, because they will never doubt how much Mat and I wanted them or how full they've made our lives.
32. Being done with this list makes me ecstatic!

Is that a cop-out? Well, too bad. It's my list! :)