Monday, March 2, 2015

Life is Crazy

Just when I thought things were going to finally settle down and I could even get some sewing done, Brent and I decided it was time to put our house on the market.  I've written a lot about our house in the past.  We have a love/hate relationship with it.  With the addition of Archer, we knew it was time to move.  Somehow one little baby made us realize this house no longer worked for our family anymore.  Although it is certainly big enough, it just doesn't work.  Everything is on a different floor and I find myself doing the steps dozens of times a day.  That's really been great for my legs, they look great.  But it's super inconvenient and tiring.   We have no yard.  With three kids so spaced out, the kids are getting outside less and less.  It's just so much harder to take them out to the park for example Archie still naps two and three times a day.  And probably most importantly, we need good public schools close by.  Grace will be in high school in a couple of years and we just can't afford private school tuition for all three kids.

So we put our house on the market and it sold in one day!  We had two offers in one day. So crazy.  And the house we fell in love with before we even listed our house we still available and had dropped in price. We made an offer and got it!

Moving day is tentatively April 10th!  And I can't wait.  We are still working out some minor details with the home inspections and such but hopefully everything will continue to go as smoothly as it has so far.

We really like the couple buying this house and liking them has made this whole process easier.  They love the house and what we've done to it.  They love the neighborhood and had been searching for a house in this neighborhood for sometime.  It's the smallest neighborhood in the city so not a lot of houses go up for sale that often.  Anyhow they have lots of plans for this house and I am so excited for them.

The house we are in the process of buying is only 30 years old!  And modern in design.  But I love it.  I didn't think I would but I do.  The piece of land it sits on is gorgeous.  It has a deck, a hot tub and a two car garage .

So now I am dreaming of fabric for curtains and new furniture and making new memories at the new house.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sewing for Archer

I never sewed for a baby before.  When Grace and Margot were babies I sewed rarely.   I have been having fun sewing for Archie.  I generally like baby clothes you can buy at the stores so I only have been sewing the things that I can't buy at the stores for whatever reason.  Though this boy is growing so fast he is already in 12 month old clothing (he's only 5 1/2 months old) and in some stores 12 months is in the toddler section!!!  I am not ready for him to be in toddler clothes.  So grown up.  So I may have to sew him more of his clothes so he still looks like the baby he is.

Archer isn't used to always having his photo taken.  Often times he gets distressed when I pull out the camera.

This is Simplicity 2347

I made him a vest to wear to the Reindeer ball using the Oliver and S pattern.  But when I saw this pattern I knew I needed to make him another special outfit.  I was hoping to get this done by Christmas and I did.  So he wore this to Christmas Eve Mass.  I made him a matching hat that barely fit.  

Very hard to get a good picture of all three of them!

He looks tired here.  

Pants are Simplicity 2291

I liked these because they are footed pants.  The girls think they look like pajamas.  I like them because when it's cold out I can layer a pair of socks underneath.  And when I take him out of the house I don't have to worry about his pant leg riding up and exposing his bare skin.  It can get really cold here.  With windchills in the negatives so dressy warmly is important.

This photo cracks me up.  He loves tummy time. 

The jacket is from the Oliver and S Lullaby Layette pattern.  I made it with sweatshirt fleece and lined with knit.  I have another jacket planned already.  In flannel this time.  

He wore this with a red long sleeved shirt I bought.  Very warm outfit!

This is the second sleep sack I made.  The first one was sleeveless.  But now that we are in the coldest part of winter he needed one with sleeves.  The ones you buy at the store are one size fits all.  Well they don't fit him.  So this one is really big and cozy.  Again, made out of sweatshirt fleece.  I also made a hat to wear to bed on really cold nights.  

This is the vest.  It was a lot of fun to make.  I used baby cord.  Sorry for the poor photo.  It's from my phone.  

This outfit was made from a double micofleece.  The dark blue is the one side and the light blue is the other side.  I wore this on him to go for walks when it was chilly.  So this outfit went over his clothes.  This is Simplicity 1546
These are the pants to the Lullaby Layette pattern in 3-6 months.  A bit big here.  He was just little here.  
I made this before he was born.  The body suit to the Lullaby Layette pattern in the 0-3 size.  He was so tiny here.  But he grew so fast.  I think he was only able to wear this a couple of times before he grew out of it.  

And how could I forget the baptismal gown?  I will have to post that another day.  

I think I remembered everything.  Not pictured is another sleep sack (not that thrilling haha) and that hats I made him.  But I think that's everything else.  I have some more things lined up.  But first something new for me to wear.  I can't seem to lose the last 10 pounds.  It's frustrating.  So I am trying to accept my new body size/shape for now and make myself a few new things.  I spend most of my days in sweatshirts and yoga pants but occasionally I do like to dress up haha.  Caring for babies is so messy.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Snowflake Dress

One of my most favorite things to sew are dresses especially dresses for special occasions.  It's best to have some sort of inspiration.  For this dress I knew I wanted to make a winter dress and I wanted to use the Hide and Seek pattern from Oliver and S.  Originally I wanted to use a velvet or wool as the main fabric.  But when I got to the fabric store I was not impressed with the selection of both. 

So the winter dress became the Snowflake dress when I found the snowflake fabric in the quilting section of the store.  I matched it with a solid blue broadcloth.  I picked up some  of the tulle, the buttons and the trim.  Originally I was just going to use the tulle on the front of the dress like an apron but once I did that I realized I needed to do the entire dress.

I went back to the fabric store and they didn't have anymore left.  I barely had enough.  I sewed the two layers (broadcloth and tulle) together.  

I added the pom pom trim because it reminded me of snowballs and added about 20 snowflake buttons to the hem of the dress and the bodice.  

The dress was itchy so we put one of Margot's school blouses underneath it and I love the look.  It's cold here in Pennsylvania at Christmas so it gave Margot extra warmth.  She wore heavy white tights and a sliver bow in her hair.  The dots on the tulle are silver.  

Margot loved it and so do I! 

Grace's dress was bought from Aeropostale.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

So it's been awhile

I don't even know where to begin.  My last post, I announced Archie's birth.  I was so happy to finally meet this boy we waited so long for.  The day I came home I was so happy.  The hospital stay seemed long and not as restful and going home to my own bed felt amazing.  I was finally home with my new baby.  I felt great.  Physically, this was the best I felt after a c-section.  All seemed well.  Until Archie was 11 days old and we went to the doctor's where we learned he wasn't gaining weight fast enough.  I was shocked to say the least.  After breastfeeding the girls, for three years each, I was confident in my ability to nurse a baby.

But as it turned out I wasn't the problem.  For some reason Archie was not a good nurser.  And this, his not gaining weight and not nursing well, is what tipped me over the edge into postpartum depression.  My main symptoms were terrible anxiety, a sense of dread, and insomnia.  It was awful.  

Thankfully I got help pretty quickly. At 4 weeks postpartum I went on an anti depressant.  After a couple of weeks I was feeling a lot better.  And with the help of Trazodone I started sleeping better and better.  But August was a rough month and so was a lot of September.  Brent, my Mom, my Dad, and my sisters were hugely supportive.  Without their support and help I wouldn't have gotten better as quickly as I did.    

I am pleased to say I feel like myself again and all is well.  Thankfully.  I am one of the lucky ones.  Some women suffer terribly with PPD.  There is so much more I want to say on this entire topic.  But I think I need some more distance from it before I can write about it.  

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein:  "Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony.  In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity."  

There is so much that I have learned from this experience.  

I learned how much I love Brent.  He was there for me totally and completely.  Our marriage vows were truly tested.  In sickness and health.  Mental illness is very scary.  But Brent never failed me.

I learned to ask for help.  I am an independent person who likes to do things herself.  But in this situation I needed a lot of help.  At one point all I could really manage to do was to feed Archie.  My parents came up several weeks to help me.

I learned that I am so much more than a pair of boobs to Archie.  Breastfeeding defined my parenting of a baby and toddler with the girls.  I nursed my babies for nutrition but also I nursed them to sleep.  I nursed them to comfort them and  to soothe them.  With Archie, after struggling to breastfeed for weeks, I finally decided to formula feed.  At the time, it broke my heart.  I had to learn how to parent a baby in a different way.  I couldn't just use my boobs to meet every need- to feed, comfort, soothe, and put to sleep.  I had to learn how to parent all over again and often time I felt like a first time Mom. In the end it all worked out well.  He is a happy healthy boy.  

Now, I am sewing again.  And knitting.  And working on needlepoint stocking for Archie.  Although it won't be done for Christmas but that is okay. 

I look forward to sharing some of the things I am working on now.  I can't wait to show you the outfit I am making Archie right now.  It's so cute!    

I'd also like to revisit some of these topics as well particularly PPD in regards to treatment of it.  I'd also like to write more about cultural belief that "breast is best" and how damaging that is for women who can't breastfeed.   

Thanks for reading.  I am glad to be back. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Archer William
July 28, 2014
9:08 am
8lbs, 14 oz
21 inches long

Friday, July 11, 2014

Getting ready for baby

In my 9th month of pregnancy, I have lost my desire to sew.  I just can't sew anymore.  I am too tired.  I am working on the baby's needlepoint stocking when I feel like sewing.  It's a nice thing to work on.  

So in my family someone usually makes the new baby a quilt.  Typically it's my older sister Anne or my Mom.  Anne's made my girls each a quilt.  But with 2 young kids of her own, I asked my Mom to make Gummy Bear a quilt.  Although my Mom is an amazing quilter, I asked her to make this very simple quilt.  It's made from flannel and it's very thick, warm and cozy.  I wanted it to be made from bold, bright fabric.  I imgaine using this quilt in the stroller on our long walks in the morning after I put the kids on the bus.  Or used in the car, or on the couch.  As you can see Grace really likes it!  

With some of the leftover fabric, my Mom sewed up a little baby quilt.  She really wanted the baby to have quilt that was more babyish.  So this one is smaller and thinner and I am sure he'll use it a lot too!

For this being our 3rd baby, we are so lucky to have some very lovely friends and co workers who gave us a baby shower and baby gifts for this little guy.  We were lucky enough to get some money and gift cards and we put it towards getting a brand new stroller.  My other stoller, the one I got with Grace, was so beat up we finally threw it away a year or so ago.  I wish that stroller had an odometer on it.  I'd love to know how many miles I put on that stroller with nearly 10 years of constant use.  So a stroller is seriously the ONE baby thing that I really care about.  It's my ticket to freedom with a young child.  I love nothing more than loading up my baby, grabbing the dog, and going for a nice long walk by the river.  

So here is the stroller!  Over the holiday weekend while I was visiting my sisters,  we put our heads together, and decided THIS stroller was the best stroller for my needs.  I needed a stroller that was great in a city- able to go over bumpy sidewalks and make tight turns, yet not be too big and bulky.   I also wanted a stroller that was easy to steer with one hand if need be.  My strollers are used outside for the most part rather than used inside malls or for shopping.  I love taking the dog on walks with us.  My old stroller (which I LOVED) had 2 separate handles and that was actually really hard to steer with one hand when holding onto a dog in the other hand.  I like the one handle on this stroller.  And last I needed a stroller that was not just for a baby.  I use a stroller for a LONG time.  At least till the child is 4 years old.   Like I said, my stroller is my ticket to freedom.  Living in the city and so close to the amazing river walk, our walks can go from a couple miles long to 8 miles long!  Once they are older, I let my kids get out and walk for awhile but no child of mine could ever keep up with my pace or endurance (haha) so they always end up back in the stroller at some point.    So the weight limit on this stroller is 65 pounds and for fun Margot tried it out.  And at 6 1/2 years old, she almost still fits!  

Of course one of the biggest decisions to make while pregnant is the deciding on the baby's name.  It was so easy to name Grace.   Her name is Grace Anne.  We thought her name was beautiful and perfect just like her.  BUT she does not agree.  First of all she thinks her name Grace Anne is redudant.  Anne apparently means Grace.  So it's like I named her Grace Grace she says.  Then there is the factor of our last name.  More redudancy with her middle name and last name.  Sigh.  So, she would like to rename her self "Grace Caroline" as you can see she signed her "name" on our window for all to see.  Sigh.  

Margot was a little harder to name.  We were pretty certain on her first name when we went into the hospital but had no idea what her middle name should be.  We decided to name her Eve.  Margot Eve.  Again, the perfect name for the perfect girl.  

So onto this little dude.  I find naming a boy MUCH HARDER.  We have decided to wait to meet this little guy till we name him.   It won't be long.  But we've called him Gummy Bear for so long we wonder if that nickname will stick...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For the Little Prince

The gown is finished!  Well not completely, it still needs buttons.  I am going to wait until closer to his baptism.  I have a fear he is either going to be bigger or smaller than I am expecting so I want to wait to do the buttons in case I need to make adjustments.  

It's very hard photographing a baptismal gown that is white and 36 inches long!  So here are the best photos.  This one lets you see the entire gown with all the details.  

I am in the process of making a slip to be worn underneath.  You can see how lightweight the fabric is.  Also I need to hand wash, starch, line dry, and iron this before the big day.  Again, that can wait!  

Close up of the collar.  I really enjoyed doing all the handwork on this.  

(The collar looks a bit wonky in this picture but I assure you it's not in real life.  The back of the gown is just pinned closed with one pin so I think that is why it looks that way.)

Close up of the sleeve.  Lace insertion and two tucks,  edged with entredeux and more lace.  

And the hemline.  Edged with entredeux and lace.  This lace on the bottom is the same pattern to the lace insertion in the sleeve.  Originally I tried to attach the lace by machine using a narrow zig zag.  The result was horrid.  I ripped it out very carefully and attahed the lace by hand. 

I am so happy my sister encouraged me to start the gown now!  There is no way I'd want to be doing this with a newborn.  I learned so much and truly enjoyed the process.  I am looking forward to making Margot's First Communion Dress using heirloom patterns and/or techniques.