Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Baby... Plus One

I've been experiencing a fair amount of anxiety lately. I can't seem to escape the frantic to-do list in my head, of things that MUST be done before baby #2 arrives. Time is ticking, and with a presumable 4-5 weeks to go, give or take, I can't help but feel a little doubtful that I actually can, and will, accomplish it all.

It dawned on me the other day, that the time I get to spend one on one with my sweet little boy is rapidly passing by, and soon will come to an end.

Of course, I am elated to welcome our baby girl into the world, and feel blessed beyond belief to be giving Max a sibling... However, there is a slight touch of fear to go along with all of that joy. The uncertainty of how our family dynamic is about to change is a bit intimidating.

I remember, shortly after we brought Max home from the hospital, when my brain was still fogged with the perpetual bliss (and hormone overload) that comes with welcoming a new life into the world, wondering if I could ever love another living thing as much as loved him. I sat there rocking him in my arms and inhaling his intoxicating newborn smell, thinking this, THIS, is what the unwavering feeling of true love really is!

Naturally, after 35 weeks of carrying this new bundle, I now know that it will most definitely be possible to love this baby just as much.  There is no denying however, that over the past 20 months, Max and I have formed a very special bond.

Lately, the hugs, kisses, and snuggles from my little man have been overwhelmingly abundant, and I couldn't be more pleased. I am making the best effort I can to savor these special moments with him, before I am bombarded with the reality that I will have 2 to care for, 2 to split my attention and time with. I imagine most women struggle with this same anxiety as they make they jump from mommy of one to mommy of two. Maybe not though, maybe it's just me.

Either way, it's inevitable that our baby girl is going to make her way into this world sooner or later, and I'm doing my best to be prepared... If that's even possible.

At the moment, the main source of my anxiety is the knowledge that I will have to be away from Max, overnight, while I deliver this little princess. I have never spent one night away from Max, since the day he was born, and while I knew this day would eventually come, the sadness I feel over not being able  to tuck him in for the night, and watch him fall asleep on the video monitor is very raw and real.

Is it normal to feel so much guilt over something like this? Will I feel this anxious next time around, or by then will I be a seasoned professional?

Perhaps this is what being a mother is all about, the ongoing worry and struggle that you're giving all that you have to each of your children... Being carefully sure that your love and attention is being spread as fairly as possible, so that none of your sweet babies ever feel as though they're not getting enough. 

I suppose soon enough, I am going to find out. For now though, I'm treasuring my time with this precious little boy who is currently carrying a baby doll around the room, proudly shouting, "Ba-by, baaaa-by, ba-by!" Little does he know, he still is and always will be, my baby.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Crocheted Easter Egg Garland

In case you haven't picked up on it by now, I have a slight obsession with holiday themed garlands.

After making a crocheted shamrock garland to hang on our mantle for St. Patrick's Day, I was determined to come up with one for Easter as well.

I played around a little bit, and finally came up with what I think is a pretty simple pattern to create these adorable Easter eggs.

Thankfully, due to my yarn hoarding habit, I had plenty of scrap yarn on hand, and ended up crocheting a total of 8 eggs.  You can make as many or as few as you'd like.  I think they'd look great individually hung as well.

Here's what I did:

using worsted weight yarn and a size H crochet hook, form a magic ring.  If you don't know how to do this, you can find a video tutorial here.

Inside the magic ring, make 10 sc.  Join with a slip stitch in top of first stitch (10 st).
Round 1-
Ch 2, dc in same (first) stitch.
2 dc in next 2 st.
3 trc in next st.
2 dc in the next 3 st
1 dc, 1 hdc in the next 2 stitches.  Slip stitch in top of first stitch to join (19 st).
Round 2-
Ch 2
Hdc in the next 4 stitches.
2 hdc in the next 2 stitches.
2 dc in the next 2 stitches.
2 hdc in the next 2 stitches.
Hdc in the next 9 stitches. Slip stitch in top of first stitch to join.
Break off yarn, leaving a little to weave in end.

For the garland, using 2 strands of yarn at the same time, I chained 150.  I then threaded that strand through the backs of the eggs, using a crochet hook.

You can make this garland as long or as short as you would like.

If you use this pattern, I would love to see the finished product, and by all means, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Caramelized Onion, Tomato, Basil, and Gorgonzola Quiche

Professional food blogger I am certainly not. Case in point this quiche that I made tonight. Though it doesn't necessarily look like something out of the pages of Gourmet magazine... I can assure you, it tasted AH-MAZ-ING.

Being that it is Lent, and we are currently not consuming meat on Fridays, every week I feel pressured to think of something new and tasty for dinner so that we don't end up eating pizza more often than we should.  Not that there's anything wrong with pizza. Trust me, we LOVE pizza.

So here it was, Friday again, and I couldn't help but think, "what the heck can we have for dinner tonight?" "What haven't we had for awhile?" And then it hit me... Quiche!

I began scouring the contents in my refrigerator on a manhunt for some genius ingredients, and low and behold, I came up with this little gem. Caramelized onion, tomato, basil and Gorgonzola quiche.  Now, if you're not a fan of Gorgonzola cheese, then this quiche might not be for you. I suppose you could substitute another type of cheese; cheddar, mozzarella, whatever pleases your palette... But personally, I'm a Gorgonzola lover. I adore it's pungent, stinky sharpness, and the creamy gooey goodness that occurs when it is melted... So for us, Gorgonzola it is.

Also worth noting, you may use store bought pie crust as a short cut here, or if you prefer to make your own, good old Martha's recipe is my usual go-to when time allows.  This time I went the Pillsbury route. I'm fairly certain my quiche would have looked a bit more quiche-ish upon exiting the oven, had I used a less deep pie pan, or rolled my pie crust to a slightly larger size. Unfortunately that was my big mistake, and my crust sort of got lost in all of the amazing filling. That's neither here nor there though. Lesson learned, and it surely did not effect the taste.

I paired it with our standby side salad; mesculin greens, with dried cranberries, chopped pecans, red onion, and naturally, more Gorgonzola. All dressed lightly in a combination of aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. 

If you give this a try, or make substitutions, please let me know how it comes out, and what you think.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Vintage Style DIY Nursery

When we first found out that Baby #2 was a girl, I was thrilled at the opportunity to start buying all things girly and pink.  
I absolutely love having a little boy, and have thoroughly enjoyed everything boyish and blue that goes along with it, but I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about being blessed with the opportunity to have a child of each gender.
When I initially began visualizing what our little girl's nursery would look like, I was drawn to very subtle color pallets (for example, grays and pinks), and an elegant but simple decor... But then I realized something, I enjoy color way too much to stick with such a basic style... it just isn't me.
Naturally, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and found so many ideas/things to love. 
I've decided that I really want her room to have a sort of vintage/eclectic feel. I'm big on DIY, so there are definitely some projects I really can't wait to tackle and share here on the blog.
image via babble.com

This ombre dresser version of the now infamous "Ikea hack" is on the top of my list.  I adore this idea. For the nursery however, I will be using a shorter dresser, so that it can double as a changing table as well.  I've been eyeing some gorgeous hardware from Anthropologie to use for the knobs, so we'll see which direction I decide to go with that (I promise to share the details in a future post).

In lieu of a mobile, I love the idea of using giant tissue paper pompoms, grouped together like this, in various colors. I have already collected the items to create my own pompoms, so stay tuned for a tutorial on that in the future as well.


In my opinion, every little girl needs a bookcase that can also serve as a dollhouse.  I plan on putting my husband's handyman skills to work to build something similar to this for our little girl.  I love the versions from Pottery Barn and elsewhere, but as you can probably tell by now, I'm big on handmade stuff, and I really think she will treasure something like this as she gets older, if she knows her Daddy made it just for her.

The list of things I need to accomplish is long, and due to time constraints, as well as the fact that our home is currently undergoing some renovations, it seems this nursery will not be complete in time for our little one's arrival.  I am dealing with a fair amount of guilt about this, seeing as our son's room was perfectly finished well before he arrived.  It is what it is though, and she will more than likely be in our room for the first couple of months anyhow, so I will use the extra time to make sure that when all is said and done, everything is perfect.  I can't wait to share the details with you in the future.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekly Project Round Up

Perhaps you could call it a form of nesting, but I have been on a bit of a roll lately for starting... and actually finishing projects. Normally, I am notorious for starting things and not finishing them. Just ask my husband.
I have visions; I get lots of ideas, and I am always so excited to get started on these endeavors, but before I can complete something, it seems something else has come along and distracted me.
Not lately though. Lately, I have been getting. stuff. done.
It might be the 3rd trimester discomfort, or the toddler who is getting his 2 year molars. Maybe it's the dog, who can no longer seem to wait until morning to go out and relieve himself. Either way, the lack of sleep I have been getting is certainly preparing me for having a newborn again, and in the meantime, it seems have given me an "I can get by on just a few hours of sleep" mentality. Rather than sneaking in a cat nap of my own during Max's afternoon nap, I have been taking full advantage of the child-free time.
I wanted to share a few of my latest completed projects and where I found the inspiration for some of them!

I got the idea for this adorable shamrock garland, when I saw the pattern for the sweet little crocheted clovers on Everything Etsy.  I'm a huge sucker for a holiday themed garland, so when I saw the link on Pinterest, I just knew I had to make one!

My next project is more of a "work in progress".  I have always adored the look of a handmade granny square blanket, and due to the over abundance of yarn I have recently accumulated, now seemed like as good a time as any to get started on one. These simple squares whip up super fast, and the pattern is so mindless, that I got a handful of them done one evening while watching Modern Family, Mommy's guilty pleasure (one of them anyways!).
I wish I could credit the source for this pattern, but over the 15 years or so that I have been knitting and crocheting, I have acquired a collection of patterns that I have scribbled down and tucked into a binder, and this just happens to be one of them.
Simple Granny Square:
Chain 5, join with sl st to form a ring
Rnd 1:
Chain 3 into center of ring, then 2 dc
*Chain 2, 3 dc into ring, repeat from * twice, chain 2, join with a sl st in top of beg chain 3.
Sl st across the next 2 stitches into corner space
Rnd 2:
Chain 3, 2 dc into corner space, chain 2, work 3 dc into same space, *chain 1, work 3 dc, chain 2, 3 dc into next space, repeat from * twice, chain 1, join with a sl st in top of beg chain 3.
Sl st across the next 2 stitches into corner space.
Rnd 3:
Chain 3, work 2 dc into corner space, chain 2, work 3 dc into same space, * chain 1, work 3 dc into chain 1 space, chain 1, work 3 dc, chain 2, 3 dc into next corner space, repeat from * twice, chain 1, work 3 dc into chain 1 space, chain 1, join with a sl st into top of beg chain 3.
Sl st across the next 2 stitches into corner space.

From here, you should get the idea. You can make these as many rounds as you would like, and even switch colors each round. I've made an entire baby sized blanket before, by just continuing with the rounds. The ones pictured here are each 4 rounds of various colors, and then they are framed with a fifth round of white.

This knitted baby blanket that I talked about in a past post, is currently one of my proudest accomplishments.  I found the pattern for this Super Easy Baby Blanket, over on purlbee.com.  It is the simplest of patterns (perfect for a beginner), works up pretty quickly, and is beautiful and so, so soft when it is done. At first, I thought the blanket was going to be rather small when completed, but it is actually a really nice size.  My excitement over this blanket was reignited every time I added a new color of yarn... 7 times to be exact.

I couldn't love it any more if I tried!

I crocheted this little "rosette top knot beanie", as I have been lovingly referring to it, for our baby girl, who is due next month.  I used Blue Sky Alpaca's organic cotton yarn, and you can't even believe how soft it is.  I am still working out some details with this pattern, but I hope to share it in the future.  I also plan on listing them in my Etsy shop.

Currently, I am working on this patchwork quilt for our daughter's nursery.  I have decided to go with a vintage-y decor, and have fallen in love with an aqua, peachy-pink, and hints-of-gold color palette (more on that in a future post).
Anyhow, originally, I really wanted to be a bit more creative with this quilt, but I adored the fabrics that I chose for it so much, that the thought of cutting them too small to see the detail saddened me.  I decided to go with a simple patchwork design that uses 5.5 inch squares.  When complete, it should measure approximately 45x60 inches.  Seriously though, how sweet are these fabrics?

In addition to all of my other "kicks", I am also currently on a big accessory kick, now that I am about to have a little girl. So, I decided to give these no-sew felt bows a try the other day, after looking at a few tutorials on Pinterest.  In the end, I came up with my own little pattern to achieve the size I wanted for the bows, but I found a great tutorial here. I plan on using some as clips, and turning some into headbands! So many possibilities here.

Last, but not least, I am thrilled to share a new item that will soon be available in my Etsy Shop... A ton of these jersey knit headbands are currently in the works, in a number of fun prints.  
The best thing about these headbands, besides the fact that they are too cute for words, is that they are adjustable. Due to the stretch of the fabric, and depending on where you tie them, they will fit newborns, all the way up through girl's sizes.
I am so excited about these, and can't wait to list them in the shop!

I think that pretty much covers everything for now.  I'm going to keep plugging along until our little lady decides to arrive, and then I get the feeling things will slow down a bit while I adjust to life as a mother of 2!  I get anxiety just thinking about it!!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Preparation Makes Perfect

Image via www.kasia.labocki.com

During my first pregnancy, I had this undeniable intuition that I was going to go into labor early.  Low and behold, it turned out my intuition was right. Max arrived abruptly, a whopping 8 days early.
At almost 32 weeks into pregnancy #2, I'm beginning to have that same gut feeling. Although, I know enough now to know that I'll never be fully prepared, the chances of this impending hasty arrival have led me to start thinking about packing my hospital bag... just to be safe.

Image via www.buzzfeed.com

Using a combination of 2nd-time-mom experience, as well as the obvious pinning of ideas via Pinterest, I have come up with my very own list, that I thought I would share. Here it is:

I'm a big list person.  Having something to check off helps keep me on track and keeps me from forgetting things. I learned the first time around, that you don't really need a lot when it comes to your short hospital stay.  This is why my list is pretty basic, just the essentials.  In my opinion, comfort is the most important thing when it comes to Mama, so keep in mind what makes you feel best. I do pack make up and hair supplies, simply because I like to be prepared for visitors and for all of the photos that will indefinitely be taken... I certainly wouldn't say full on glam is necessary, but a little bit of mascara and bronzer can do wonders.
As far as clothing goes, think sweats, flannels, and nursing tanks.  I live in my PINK sweats, so those definitely get packed. a comfy robe to wear when visitors come is a must for me, but a good hoodie is nice to have too.
I do pack some sexy cotton granny panties of my own, but last time around, I mostly took advantage of the lovely disposable underwear the hospital had to offer... As well as their free, albeit giant, maxi pads.  Slippers and/or some warm socks are a necessity, no one wants to put their bare feet on yucky hospital floors!
When it comes to baby, the hospital really provides a lot. It's a safe bet that they will supply diapers, wipes, blankets, even pacifiers. I like to pack sleeper gowns and footie pajamas, they're warm and comfortable for baby, and make it easy when it comes to diaper changes. I do pack a blanket or 2 of our own, just because I like to have things from home that are pretty. Also, little hats/caps and those sweet mittens to keep baby from scratching their face are musts.
For Daddy it's pretty basic, just things to make him comfortable.
Don't forget your camera, phone charger, and some of your favorite snacks and drinks.  You will be ravenous and thirsty after delivering that babe!
Well, here's to hoping I'll be very well prepared for our little lady!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tough Days Are Part of the Job Description

When it was first decided that I would become a SAHM, I had visions of days spent lovingly tending to my children, with nap times spent sipping on coffee and working on crafts or trying new recipes. In these visions, my house was always spotless with minimal effort involved, and my hair and make up were both impeccably done without fail.

Fast forward to 19 months later, and 31 weeks pregnant with baby number 2. 
As I compose this blog post, my attire consists of yoga pants, a maternity tank top, and a hoodie. My living room has toys strewn all about, the sink is full of dishes, and there are approximately 3 loads of laundry just begging to be done down in my basement.
Now please don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change this life for anything, but it is certainly not the glamorous life of leisure I once envisioned.
I adore my family, yoga pants are comfortable, and I have adapted the mentality that a sink full of dirty dishes means a family well fed. Truth be told though, a few weeks into my 3rd trimester... I am beyond exhausted.
There have been very few moments since my son, Max, was born that I felt like I didn't really have it all together, whatever that means. For the most part, I have always been able to keep my composure when it comes to the constant neediness of my family. Generally, I take a deep breath, do what I need to do, and move on... But, a few days ago, I had a day.  Not just any day, but one of those days where by 7 am, I was ready to throw in the towel, crawl back into bed, and have a good cry. Pregnancy hormones may be partly to blame, but in a rare-for-me moment, I really felt like I had zero control of everything around me.
Max has reached an age where his energy seems endless. He is constantly going, constantly hungry, and, like most toddlers, constantly needy and unfortunately whiny when those needs are not immediately fulfilled.

Add to that, a 5 year old attention hungry Basset Hound, who also whines whenever he wants/needs something, plus a husband who, though he works very hard, often comes home and also likes to be waited on when it comes to his food and drinks as if our home is some sort of restaurant... The result you get is one beyond-tired wife and mommy, who now considers a 5 minute shower behind a locked bathroom door, a "getaway".

The timing couldn't have been better that I stumbled upon this blog post that was shared on Facebook, entitled, "Mommy, Somebody Needs You." God's timing truly is impeccable.
After the dog's usual 4:00 AM wake up to be let outside to relieve himself, I found myself back in bed with one long-limbed spouse, and Max, who has decided to make our Queen-size bed his new favorite spot, every night for the last week and a half.  With approximately 6 inches of space to squish my pregnant body into, I wouldn't say that I easily drifted back off to sleep.  Like anyone would these days, I reached for my iPhone to see what social media had to offer for entertainment in the wee hours of the morning.

When I found and began reading this blog post, I couldn't help but find it instantly relatable... as I'm sure most mother's would.
Lately, I have been making it a bit of a habit to say that I live in a house with "3 very needy boys" and this early morning reading really brought me back down to earth.
This "neediness" is what I signed up for when I took on the role of being a wife and a mother with the luxury of getting to stay at home.  Sure, there are days when I would love a little more help, or that I want to rip my hair out in frustration.  There are also times when I pretend I'm in the basement putting in a load of laundry, but I'm really just enjoying a brief moment of peace and quiet to myself.
Some days are tougher than others, but tough days are part of the job description.
As with most things in life, when you step back for just a moment, and take a look at things from a different perspective, you learn to truly appreciate things for what they are.
My days won't always be like this.  Someday I won't be needed like I am now.  These days will be long behind me all too soon, because as we all know, time flies.
I couldn't be more thankful for what I got out of reading "Mommy, Someone Needs You.", mostly for the new-found appreciation of being constantly needed and wanted, even when it's exhausting.
This job might be difficult at times, but I can't think of a single thing in the world that is more rewarding.  The next time I have a really tough day, I will try a little harder to remember to think about what is most important, to live a little more in the moment, and to really see the moment for all it has to offer; the true joy of being surrounded by people who need me.

On a side note, I wouldn't be upset if in my next life, I got to come back as Homer... this hound has it really rough.

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