Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My helper

Every time I've sewn something, Braeden has asked me if it was for him. He looked at the itty-bitty white shirt I appliqued and asked if it was for him. Friday when he came home from school, he peered down at the small pair of pants I had just finished and asked if they for him. And each time he's asked me, I've had to say no. And I kept telling him that I would make something for him very soon.

It's not like I hadn't been thinking about what to make for him. And it's not as if I didn't have about 10 ideas competing for space in the tiny part of my brain devoted to crafty projects. It was just easier to make bibs, burp cloths, and tiny pants. But today was Braeden's day!

After lunch with Mat Thursday, Gage and I went to Target looking for something. Instead of a canister for flour, I walked out of there with two clearance items--a blue dish towel with a dump truck and the words "Lil Helper" on it and a large blue outdoor tablecloth with cars and trucks on it. I knew right away that the towel would become an apron for Braeden to wear when he cooks with me. The tablecloth might become a picnic blanket or maybe some big pillows for outside seating. I haven't decided yet.

Saturday Mat had to be on campus for Commencement, so in the morning Braeden and I made cupcakes (using a red velvet cake mix!) while Gage napped.


After Braeden's quiet time, I brought the towel upstairs and we got to work. He didn't like modeling the towel but he definitely wanted to help me sew. I let him help me cut the towel and he operated the foot pedal to wind the bobbin. He always wants to push the pedal. He's actually stepped on my foot while I'm sewing and sent the needle flying at a breakneck pace! And he's gotten into trouble for it, too! So he loved winding the bobbin.

The whole thing only took about 20 minutes (not counting the times I was interrupted by Braeden, Gage, or Mat coming home). It's not the best job in the world, but it's cute. And it's big enough that Bray will be able to wear for a couple years, at least.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Go fish!


Here's another outfit I made for Gage. I cut the fabric for the pants Thursday night and finished up the sewing Friday right before Mat and Braeden got home. This pair took me about 45 minutes total, so I'm definitely getting better at this. I reworked my pattern a little to add more room in the seat since Gage's cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables.

In addition to the stars on a blue background, the fabric also has a marbled look. I bought half a yard of several fabrics at the very end of April. This is the second pair of pants I've made with my fabrics. This time I was itching to do the applique, so I looked at a bunch of clip art pictures and finally settled on a fat goldfish. After I had cut out the fish I got this overwhelming urge to get complicated. So, I decided the fish needed a few little bubbles. Stitching a tight zigzag around those little circles was really, really tough. They don't look very good, but I'm doing my best not to care about that! I love it! It all really turned out so sweetly.

Mat and I did a bunch of things around the house during our three-day weekend. For one, we priced the stuff we're going to try to sell at next weekend's yard sale. For me, though, the biggest thing we did was to move my sewing cabinet and machine downstairs to the morning room. Having the machine upstairs just outside Braeden's door meant I couldn't do any sewing at night after he went to bed. Mat measured the morning room and there was plenty of room. I'm so excited to be set up downstairs now. Gage's new tee shirt was the first thing I did in my new space!

Into the pool

We took the boys to the pool at our development today for the first time this season. It was a beautiful day, in the low 80s and sunny with a light breeze. The kiddie pool is closed for some reason, so we had been preparing Braeden that he would have to go in the big pool. We also had him try on his ski vest a few times so he would be used to wearing it. Mat got it for him last year at Costco in preparation for the day he would graduate to the big pool.

Here he is in new swim trunks and NO swim diaper! He looks sullen but he was really just being silly and posing for me. He even wore his reef flip-flops for the first time today. He picked them out; I didn't have to twist him arm or force him into them. They're so cute because they're the same pattern as Mat's. :)

We weren't sure how it would go when we got there since Braeden often seems really excited to try something new but then his excitement fizzles when it actually comes time to do it. But not today. Today he was thrilled to be at the pool. He balked briefly when we tried to put the vest on him, but he came around pretty quickly.

Mat wanted him to jump into the pool right away, but Braeden preferred to get his feet wet slowly on the stairs.


But after a couple minutes of this, he asked Mat to pick him up and take him into the water. They walked around a bit and came over to where I was sitting on the edge with Gage. Braeden sat next to us for a few minutes, but we convinced him to get back in so he wouldn't get too cold. And then we convinced him it would be fun to jump in. I think he was worried his head would go below the water. We explained that the vest would keep him above water and Mat promised he would catch him when he jumped. And after a couple minutes, Braeden took the plunge. Over and over and over again.



He's very excited to go back next weekend! I'm already thinking about teaching him to swim...buying him a kickboard to learn to kick, teaching him to put his face in the water to blow bubbles...so much fun. But for now, Braeden wants some kind of inflatable raft or tube, so I'll be making a trip to Target this week in search of something cute.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mama-made

Here's Gage in the little shirt I appliqued for him! Can you believe I made that whole outfit? How nuts is that?

I couldn't wait to put him in the shirt and matching pants this morning. We went to campus for lunch with Mat then I went to run a few errands. But it was really all about showing off his new outfit. :)

Even though I took the picture for the clothes, I can't help but point out Gage's toes. I love his toes! And those eyes. Look how big and blue they are. His hair is growing longer so it isn't as spiky as it once was.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Growing pains

This is a hard post for me...I'm having a hard time accepting it, but my baby is growing up. Ouch. It hurts my heart a little writing it here. Putting it in the blog makes it real.

Monday I listed Gage's small gDiapers at a couple sites online to try to sell them. A woman in NY e-mailed me Tuesday morning and agreed to my price. Very cool. After she paid me, I washed all of my smalls and the mediums from Mareike, packaged up the smalls, and put Gage in his first medium gDipe. It's sized to fit from 13 to 28 pounds,  so it's still pretty big on him but the smalls were just too small for my comfort.

Then tonight I decided to give Gage a little rice cereal after we finished our dinner. The past few days he's seemed less than satisfied at the breast. I attributed that to him still being hungry after nursing. It makes me sad to think that my breast milk isn't enough for him anymore. But at the same time, it's exciting to try new things with him. I mixed a little of the rice cereal with some of my milk and we were ready to go.

I love our morning room, but it's awful to take pictures in. But anyway, here I am feeding Gage his first taste of rice cereal!

He did really well eating. Some cereal dribbled out of his mouth, which I was expecting, but he did a lot better than I thought he would. All told, he probably ate a teaspoon of cereal. He seemed to like it...


The other thing that happened today was big for me, not necessarily for Baby Gage. I finally got my nerve up and appliqued a onesie for Gage. I've been wanting to do it since I made him his first pair of pants, but frankly, I was terrified! I googled applique and found a lot of great resources. I read lots of blog posts, studied tutorials, and then hit the motherload when I found a video on Martha Stewart's site showing exactly what to do. I have a serious thing for Martha. :)

Over the last few weeks I've been compiling a mental list of shapes I could use for my applique. Since I don't draw, I used an image from clip art. And here it is...my first applique!


Can you tell what it is? A VW bug! Gage is going to wear it tomorrow with the matching pants, so I'll be sure to get a picture. We're going to campus for lunch with daddy.

And here's a close-up shot of my zigzag stitching on the applique. This was the thing that was holding me back. I didn't know how to zig. Or zag. I experimented on some scrap fabric and decided to give it a go. Straight lines are easy, but stitching around all my small curves was a little overwhelming. So I just went really slowly, lifted my presser foot a lot, and kept my fingers crossed. And when I was done, I loved it. Loved it.


Braeden was having his bath while I worked. He came out and immediately asked if this was for him. So now I know I need to buy him some plain tees so I can applique something for him too! What a sweet boy to want to wear his mama's stuff. I just love him to pieces.

Wildlife

"Mommy, there's an alligator in the garage!"

Yup. That's what I heard Braeden say as I was putting Gage in the car Saturday morning. We were headed out to run errands while Mat was on campus giving a final. I came around the car and saw Braeden crouched over our lizard.

Isn't he cute? The lizard, I mean. Braeden, too, of course.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baby Gage's bunting


I've teased you before with pictures of my most recent project in its unfinished state and of it just lying forlornly on the floor, but now I get to show it to you finished. Hung up. In all its glory.

I'm calling this bunting for no other reason than the woman I cribbed this from calls it that. You can see her bunting here. She's inspired me before...I got some advice from her on making baby pants. I've enjoyed reading her blog even though I've never met her before in real life. She has six kids! She had four boys, a little girl, and one more boy. Six kids...that's inspirational enough! But somehow she finds time to make baby pants, bunting, dresses for herself and her daughter (sometimes they even match), aprons, totes, and homemade soap!

Anyway. I loved the bunting she made for her son's room and I realized I could make the same kind of thing for Gage's room using the leftover fabric from his bedding set. I had just enough of the toile to make three triangles. I had more fabric but the pattern only runs in one direction so I had to be smart and make sure the pattern didn't end up upside down. Did you get that? I only spelled it out here because I was incredibly impressed with myself for remembering the pattern had a direction. Since I had three of the toile triangles, I cut three paisley triangles. And then I cut the triangles from the striped fabric to alternate with the others. I backed the triangles with a heavy-weight ivory fabric--no idea what kind...I kinda forgot to pay attention at JoAnn's. But cut me some slack because I did remember that the toile pattern was unidirectional. :) The last thing I had to do was string the triangles together using a thin ivory ribbon. I strung them in three segments so I could be sure the bunting would swag nicely. This was actually the hardest part of the whole process. If I do this again, I will HAVE to come up with a better way to string them together. Then Mat helped me hang it up Sunday afternoon while it rained. Stormed actually!

But anyway, it's done. I think it looks amazing. I absolutely love how it brings the room together. I just can't stop looking at it either. I love walking into Gage's room and seeing it hanging over his crib. It actually makes me look forward to moving Gage up into his room. Well, that may be overstating things a bit! But when he does move up there, I'm going to love walking in the door and seeing him lying in his crib under the bunting.


Hey, Emily, will you send the link to Dana so she can see what I did with the fabric? Without her, I never would have done it. I wouldn't have had the fabric to work with. Or the beautiful bedding to match.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Laughing Baby Gage

Gage has been laughing for a couple weeks now. I tickle him and make this silly clucking noise which he thinks is fantastic. Or I raise him up over my head and nibble on his feet then lower him so we're nose to nose. This is great except for the one time he spit up a little on my forehead. :)

After a few minutes of him laughing, I suddenly remember to grab the camera but then he's done. So, today, when Mat was playing with Gage and Braeden was upstairs having "quiet time" I finally had a chance to get some video.



His first laughs, a couple weeks ago, were more like gasps but you could definitely tell he was trying to laugh. But now his laugh sounds more happy, less pained. It's the sweetest sound.

Near the end of the video you can hear Braeden calling me from upstairs. You can get a small taste of how he attempts to negotiate with us to let him out of "quiet time". It almost never works. It gets pretty annoying after a while. But sometimes his approach is really smart, really mature, and I can't help but laugh. Luckily I'm downstairs and he's upstairs and can't see my smile. One day he'll read this blog and know how close he came to getting out of "quiet time" and he'll know just what it takes to play me. And if he's this smart now, just think what a difference a few years will make.

I'm in trouble. Serious trouble.

ETA: I have no idea why the video shows up like this. Just click on it and it will play fine. Weird. And don't think I didn't notice videos of other Baby Gages on youtube. Just ignore them. This is the only Baby Gage that counts. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yum...Coffee!

This is too sweet not to post.

It's not much of a surprise to say that I LOVE coffee. Growing up in NY means that, at heart, I am a Dunkin' Donuts girl. I was spoiled in college because there was a DD just down the street from campus. I went often, many days more than once, for a medium hazelnut with cream and sugar or (in the summers) an iced coffee. When we moved to Ithaca I learned that the DD had gone out of business the previous year. I was crushed!

But then I found this wonderful cafe just across the street from our apartment complex. Hope's Way catered a lot of events I did at Cornell. They catered our wedding, too! And I went there every morning before work for coffee and a muffin or scone. Then something dangerous happened. I had my first vanilla latte. And suddenly I was one of those people spending upwards of $3 for a cup of coffee. Ithaca Bakery made the best nonfat vanilla lattes but Buzz Coffee was a little bit cheaper AND had a drive-through, so it was a toss-up as to which cup I'd be sporting that day.

Moving to NC, I wasn't sure what I would find. No DDs in our part of the state, that's for sure. Apparently they're coming to Greensboro, though. Can't wait. Down here there's a Starbucks on practically every corner. Since I don't like their regular coffee, I try to limit my visits to once or twice a week. Shelling out $3.63 for coffee grates on me, but I love it. It's my treat to me.

By now you're wondering where the hell I'm going with this...Occasionally when Mat and I both worked at Elon and we would drive together to work, I would insist on stopping at Starbucks for coffee. And sometimes I would decide to make my coffee run before we dropped Braeden off at school. He thought going to Starbucks was a treat, too, and I thought that was just wonderful. I love sharing things with my boy. He knows a lot of stores by their logos, and Starbucks is no exception. When I would take him inside with me, he would tell the barista I wanted a mocha. And they always thought it was so cute that this two-year-old was ordering mochas for his mommy. And at home he would bring me pretend-mochas all the time. If he got on his buck to run errands, his errands always included a trip to Starbucks for me. Such a good boy to want to go get coffee for his mommy.

About a month ago he got a lot more sophisticated in his pretending. He's now got my Starbucks order down pat. Well, almost.

He runs around telling anyone who will listen that I want a "defat grande nonfat no whip mocha" which is exactly right except it's decaf not defat! Today he was making coffee for his teachers and friends at school and telling them that I go to Starbucks every day (in my dreams, maybe). He was also serving penguin cappucino...he has this little penguin that came with a Diego toy set my parents gave him last year at Virginia Beach. He puts the penguin in a cup and pretends to make cappucino out of it. Slightly disturbing if you give it too much thought. But on the whole, totally cute.

And thoroughly sweet that my little boy takes such good care of me!

Isn't he the cutest?


Here's a quick post with a cute, cute picture of Gage I took just a couple minutes ago. I don't know if anyone cares, but he's wearing a bamboo prefold that I bought from a mom who hand-dyed it this beautiful shade of green. The prefold is so soft and squishy. I love it. I was scared of prefolds because I didn't know how they stayed on or if they would actually work, as in hold in the pee. So, here's our first shot at it. I couldn't have picked a better trial run because the picture doesn't do it justice...this is a really nice diaper. :)

I also ordered some unbleached indian prefolds that should arrive Monday. I think I'm going to love them! If you're going out, you need a cover but for around the house, he can go without.

Anyway, I posted the picture because Gage is so cute. And because you can get a sense for how big he's getting. Fat thighs. Chubby cheeks. Too cute.

Oh, and here's a picture of the project I finished up for his room. We'll hang it this weekend and you'll get the full effect. This pic is just to wet your whistle. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day


Hope everyone had a happy mother's day! We did.

My mother's day actually started Friday when Braeden came home from school with my present. Each year the teachers help the kids make something for the moms. This year he brought me home a plastic bowl with potpourri in it. On the outside of the bowl is a little poem and Braeden's handprints. It's very sweet. And very smelly. :)

Mat and Braeden had also stopped off at our Lowe's (the grocery store) to buy me flowers. Mat let Braeden pick something out, and they came home with a beautiful hydrangea. It's funny because my boys gave me a hydrangea last year for mother's day too. I love hydrangeas! I'm looking for a place to plant it in our yard, something I didn't do with last year's plant.


Those were my surprise mother's day gifts. Mat and I had talked about gifts, and I asked him for a tree. We've been talking about planting trees for each of the boys since before I was even pregnant with Braeden. It will be nice for them to grow up helping to take care of this tree. I hope that they'll want to plant dogwoods in their own yards someday. When we finally got around to planting trees, I didn't think our yard was big enough to add two more, so one will have to do. I always knew I wanted a dogwood. Dogwoods are a Potter thing. We had one in our yard at the house I grew up in. When my parents moved to their new house, I bought them one as a housewarming gift so they would have one in their new yard.

So, Sunday morning during a break in the rain, we all went to Lowe's (not the grocery store, this time!). I wore Gage in the Moby facing front again, and he had a great time looking at everything and cooing. And drooling. Braeden was very good while we were there. Mat and I split up so he could buy stones to make a ring around the tree and to edge our front bed. Braeden and I went to look at trees. Even though I was planning to buy a dogwood, I almost got seduced by these beautiful Japanese maples. Their leaves are so delicate and the red color is just amazing. I also looked at a crabapple tree...I knew Braeden would love picking the fruit. But ultimately, we bought a white dogwood. It's very sweet. And little. Not much to look at now, but I know it will grow into something beautiful in a couple years. If we can keep it alive!


And here's a picture of the front yard now that Mat edged around the flower bed. Last fall he built a little wall around the oak tree in our front yard. The soil was eroding in front of the tree since our yard slopes down to the street. Once he built the wall, the two daylilies I planted in front of the tree just exploded. I guess they weren't getting enough water before. Before the wall, only one of the plants bloomed. And now both lilies are lush and both have buds. I'm thrilled! And I'm hopeful that doing the edging around the front bed will help the plants up there as well. My daffodils were duds this spring. I was so disappointed. The lilies up there are coming in nicely. And there's one tiny hosta coming up that survived the great hosta massacre of '07.


One last cute picture...here's Braeden in his faux crocs. You may have noticed he has band aids on his knees in the first picture. He was running up and down the driveway when we got home from Lowe's and slipped on one of his trips down. He skinned both knees, just a little bit, and insisted on two band aids. Spongebob band aids. :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What's best

Just a quick post, more a pat on the back, I guess...

If you have a couple minutes, click here to read a pretty short article on how breastfed babies are smarter than formula babies. My favorite part of the article is probably where the doctor says moms who breastfeed are different than other moms. In my mind, I substitute better for different.

I usually go out of my way to not offend people and I made a promise years ago not to judge other moms for their choices or try to force them to comply with mine. But seriously, breast is best. And I'm proud of my commitment to doing what's best for my boys. 15 months with Braeden and four months and going strong with Gage.

And in other positive breastfeeding news, there's this article that shows breastfeeding rates have hit an all-time high in the US.

Each night at dinner Gage sits in his little chair on the floor between Mat and me. Lately he's been fussing, so I end up holding him on my knee and eating with my right hand. He likes to sit at the table and see what's going on. Last night Mat said Gage would watch me get food on my fork and then follow the fork up to my mouth and back down to my plate again. Cute. Interest in food is a sign that babies are ready to start trying solid foods themselves. We're going to wait a little longer, though. I'm in no hurry to get him started on that. He's gaining weight well with just breast milk and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nothing but breast milk until 6 months.

But, to make Gage feel more a part of things at dinner time, Mat got the highchair down from the loft this morning. I knew we had gotten a new highchair after Braeden's broke so dramatically, but I had completely forgotten what it looked like. It was a pleasant surprise to see it again this morning.


Mark, if you're reading this, Gage is wearing the outfit you and Jenn gave him for Christmas (or was it for his birth?). It fits him perfectly, and he looks like such a big boy in it! Thank you.

Even my short posts turn into novels. Sorry, guys!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Primary Day

Before they left this morning Braeden came in my room, climbed up on the bed, and announced that he was going to vote. I was still kind of asleep so I wasn't sure I understood. At first I thought the daycare was doing some kind of kid-voting thing in honor of NC primary day. But then Mat came in and told me he was taking Braeden to the voting place with him that morning.

Well that woke me right up! Ever the blogger I was thrilled with the idea of Braeden and Mat voting together. I could see all the adorable pictures I would take--Braeden closing the curtain, Braeden flipping the switches, Braeden pulling the lever to open the curtain...then I remembered it was 2008. We've got touchscreen monitors on which we vote. They're all set up next to each so there's no real privacy to shield your choices. There's definitely no curtain and no lever. And I also remembered that it was 7:30 AM and I was still in my PJs in bed with a baby laying next to me. So, readers, please know that I'm sorry. I do give it my all, but this morning I stayed in bed. :)

Mat went to the polls this morning expecting to vote on the bond referendums and found out he could choose to vote Democrat or Republican even though he's a "throw-your-vote-away" Independent. He picked Democrat and proceeded to cancel out my vote, the vote of a true Democrat, by choosing Obama. When they were done, Braeden got an "I voted" sticker and Mat took him to school.

Gage and I headed out to the polls about an hour later. I expected to wait in a long line but really only had to wait a few minutes. I was shocked that I wasn't asked to show ID; instead they asked for my name, home address, and my party affiliation. I'd even dug out my voter registration card convinced I would have to show it and my driver's license. I wore Gage in the Moby facing forward for the first time this morning. Nope, sorry, no pictures. I know it liked it, though, because he was all smiles while we waited for the next machine to open up. After I did my civic duty, Gage and I both got stickers and we left on our next errand--purchasing teacher appreciation gifts for the two women in Bray's room at school.

His whole class is scheduled to move up to the next room in mid-June. He'll be in the same room with Makena and Zander and rejoining his friend, Matthew. Plus we got the teacher we wanted, so we're pleased with how it's all working out.

After Gage and I got home, I nursed him and noticed he seemed sleepy. I put him in his swing and went out to the kitchen to find something for lunch. After a few minutes of listening to him fuss, I popped back in expecting to need to replace his paccy. When I got over to the swing, I could smell the problem. When I got his pants off (new pants that I made him, by the way), I found poop on his leg! Poop was starting to leak through the cloth pants of his gDiaper. And I knew it was going to be bad. When I opened it up, there was poop everywhere. It took all the wipes left in the container to clean up the mess. Naked Gage went on the floor on top of a sherpa prefold to air out. I took everything else into the bathroom, flushed the insert and ran for the laundry detergent. The liner and the pant got a quick rinse and hand wash and are now lying in the tub to dry. The sink and changing table got a quick clean with purple 409. After washing my hands, I came out of the bathroom to find Gage cooing happily on the floor.

I put him on his play gym so I could grab my lunch and here's what I found when I came back in to the living room...


I knew he was tired!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Putting out fires

Mat had to work all day Saturday so that left just me and the boys to hold down the fort. We made chocolate chip cookies in the morning...Braeden is turning into a great helper in the kitchen. He loves anything that requires using the stand mixer or the food processor. Come to think of it, he likes the blender too. I guess anything with a button, anything that makes a bunch of noise, or anything that you can see at work (like watching bread turn into breadcrumbs in the food processor).

I didn't take any pictures from this Saturday, but here's one from a week or so ago when Braeden and I made cupcakes. I ALWAYS got to lick the beaters when I was a kid. And it's still one of my favorite parts of baking, so I'm so happy to share that with Braeden.


While the cookies were in the oven, Braeden figured it was time to do some serious work. He put on his fire chief hat, got our step stool/firetruck out of the closet, and set to work putting out fires.


I asked Braeden if Gage could try on his hat...being the good brother he is, Braeden said yes. Please excuse these next two pictures. I'm sitting on the kitchen floor with Gage on my lap trying to take the picture without actually being able to see the screen, just holding the camera at the angle I think I need to in order to get a shot of Gage's face. As you can see, I did only okay at this. I love this picture because I love baby toes!


His face is a little fuzzy in this second picture and the bright sun completely washed out our morning room, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ooh la la!


Gage reluctantly modeled his new pants this morning. It's not that he cried or protested too loudly, he just wasn't in the mood to smile for the camera.

My first pair of pants ended up fitting Gage pretty well. Cloth diapers make for a bigger butt, so I had to add a strip of fabric to the top. That fabric encased the elastic. It kind of makes the pants look like they have a finished waistband. Nice. They pants are a little big in the waist giving him some room to grow. They're also a little long, but I gave them a wide hem so they can be turned up.

After a little fine-tuning, I think I'll have a really good pattern which is good because I'm expecting a fabric delivery soon. You can expect to see more pictures of sweet baby Gage in mommy-made pants!