November 25, 2010


For our adorable baby boy who more than made up for the last few sicky sleepless nights just now.

Every night after Daddy gives him a bath and reads him some stories, Mama comes in for a nightcap and a snuggle before tucking him into bed. And for the last few weeks, Daddy's departure has been marked with a wave and a "buh-bye" from our big boy who is quickly learning his signs and words and even starting to use them in the appropriate context.

Tonight though, our little monkey told Daddy "night night" instead. Clear as a bell and perfectly timed. This was, of course, followed by a big grin when he saw the look of pride on our faces. He's just such an amazing kiddo! Learning and growing right before our eyes. We're so thankful to have Lincoln in our lives!

November 24, 2010

so many great ideas!

That's what David usually says to me on Sunday night after we collapse from the exhaustion of trying to cram ALL THAT STUFF into one poor little weekend.

Sadly, we haven't really mastered the concept of balance, so we either spend a whole weekend with our butts firmly planted on the couch watching an entire season of Lost, or we go to the exact opposite extreme and decide to host a garage sale on the first below-freezing day of the year (Saturday), then cook an entire Thanksgiving meal while tending to a sick toddler (Sunday). That same sick toddler who couldn't sleep and has kept us all awake all night long for the last four days and then gave his nasty sickness to me. Not to be outdone, I went on ahead and gave it to David, and now we're all snotty and sore-throaty and a seriously pathetic bunch. Thankfully this all coincided with the epic snowstorm of 2010, so we've had a great excuse to hole up in the house for days on end, and our pendulum has had a chance to swing back from last weekend's extreme action to a nice gentle lull.

Which just means that I have a lot of time on my hands to start planning the next installment of MUST DO LOTS OF THINGS! NOW! Sorry dear!

September 21, 2010

Formal wear- toddler style.


I've been wanting to share some photos from a special event that took place early this summer, but time has gotten away from me. I decided it really doesn't matter that this happened in June, we'll just pretend that I've been more on top of things, k?

If the outfit looks familiar, it's because I've used this pattern before. It's the Tea Party Playsuit by Oliver + S, and I love it. Easy to put together, versatile, and unisex, I decided it was the perfect choice for a special outfit for our little man to wear on his Grandpa Jim's wedding day this summer.

Closeup of bodice

David was his father's best man, and they were dressed in linen suits befitting the beautiful Lake Chelan setting. Since Lincoln was still crawling at the time, the short length of the playsuit ended up being the perfect length for him to motor around in without staining the knees, and the khaki pinstripe suiting material that I found was a great match to the big boy's outfits while still being easy to care for and fully washable. I layered a plain white polo from Old Navy underneath, and picked up some Stride Rite sandals at Nordstrom Rack. Easy and affordable- my favorite combo!

The James Men

Don't they look handsome? Too bad Lincoln was teething so bad during this time- if he wasn't chewing on his hand, he had a river of drool pouring out of his mouth! Oh well. Something fun to tease him about to future dates!

More photos of the beautiful event can be found here in my flickr stream.

September 10, 2010

Skip this if you don't feel like having a good cry.

Labor Day weekend

View from the cabin looking West
Originally uploaded by Gus & Lulu

For a few days over the holiday weekend, we were lucky enough to wake up to this view every day. It was absolutely beautiful! A big thank you to my sister and her family for sharing their beach cabin with us. It was a nice little getaway!

We did discover that vacationing with a toddler is less of a vacation and more of an adventure in baby-proofing on the fly and praying for naps, but it was a fun time nonetheless. Port Townsend is one of my favorite places. I love the architecture and the feel of the town, and all the cute little shops. Those little places make me daydream about the shop that I would love to run someday, or the big old Victorian B&B that we could own. You know, if we won the lotto and could afford to buy a ten bedroom mansion overlooking the water. I'm just saying... a girl can dream, right?

Back to reality though. We've been home for five days now, and our bags are still packed and sitting on the floor of our bedroom. Lazy? Maybe. But keeping up with this kiddo is hard work now that he's motivating. I have managed to sneak in a few projects here and there though, and I'll be sharing those soon.

August 13, 2010


Here I come Daddy!
Originally uploaded by Gus & Lulu

Well, it's official- Lincoln's a walker! He took his first few tentative steps about a week and a half before his first birthday, and now he's really going. He still falls down all the time after just a few steps, but he gets more confident and stable every day.

It's so exciting to see the pride on his face when he comes toddling toward us. He's such a big boy!

August 7, 2010

party time!

first cake!
Originally uploaded by Gus & Lulu

My baby's first birthday party was today. He'll be one year old next Wednesday, on the 11th. It just doesn't seem possible! He's almost walking, almost talking, and today he ate his first chocolate cake. It's a whole new world, and we're right on the precipice!

Many thanks to the family and friends who shared the day with us. It was great and exhausting! Off to bed! More pics of the festivities and fun to follow.

July 14, 2010

Oh, hell to the no.

And here, verbatim, the email that I just composed and sent to my husband, who is currently in Atlanta on business. Subject line above.
So. Let me tell you about my evening! After we talked on the phone, I did some laundry, and I was hanging out, writing a little bit in Lincoln's baby book. It was about nine, so I decided to take the book up to bed with me to catch up on the months of entries that I haven't done and enjoy a glass of wine. Then I changed my mind, and thought that maybe instead I would work on it while I watched the Twilight movie that I rented the other day. I settled in on the couch with the book and my wine, and then I started wondering where that peculiar smell might be coming from... I checked under the couch for presents from Loki, but there was nothing, so I thought maybe it was just the new reed diffuser that I moved in here the other day. I turned on my movie, started writing in the book, and sipped my wine. Still, I just couldn't shake that smell. Does it kind of smell like something dead might smell? Curiouser and curiouser, I thought, but still, couldn't find anything, so assumed I must be crazy, or maybe your socks were just balled up somewhere and taunting me. Sat longer, and eventually got down on my hands and knees to smell the carpet to see if I could pinpoint it. Nothing. Hmmm... maybe we spilled something on the blanket. Yes, that blanket that I have pulled up on my lap. Maybe I should reach down and smell it. Oh! Yup, that's it! Maybe I should throw it over the back of the couch because it reeks! Oh, wait! Did a mother fucking dead mouse just fall out of the blanket, just narrowly missing my LAP?!?!?!? Yes. Yes it did. And yes, I have never moved that fast ever, up and over the back of the couch, without spilling one drop of my wine. Because that's just how I roll. It took me about fifteen minutes to compose myself enough to determine how I was going to get the reeking dead mouse from the couch without vomiting or going into convulsions, but thanks to one garbage bag, one rubber glove, and one dust pan and broom, I finally managed it. Still haven't figured out how to disinfect the couch so it's safe to sit on. Have vacuumed and Febreezed the bejeezus out of it, but there's no anti-bacterial components there. I've checked. Have also locked the cat door, and am considering filling it with concrete. Also started a craigslist ad for the cat, but can't figure out a convincing way to sell an eleven year old clawless mouser/birder/voler to the unsuspecting public. Might try again after more wine. Anyway, hope you slept well! Love you!
XO -tiff
So, as you can see, even though I haven't been here much, you clearly haven't missed anything. As they say, people: it's just the same shit, different day.

May 31, 2010

I might be lame, but my baby is sure cute!

Sunshiney Day!
Originally uploaded by Gus & Lulu

Hey! Yeah, it's been a while, sorry. I'm sure you've all given up on this here blog due to the persistant lameness. But look! Cute baby! In a hat!

The sunshine is long gone, but as you can see, the kiddo is as cute as ever. And busy trying to learn to walk. Mama's got her hands full! Also, Daddy is out of town on business in New Orleans. So jealous. But we've survived day one. Only eight more!

May 20, 2010


Guess what my awesome husband just did?!?

David (AKA my hero) just put Lincoln down to sleep for the night, all by himself!

I was sitting in the kitchen, waiting for the usual beckoning to the nursery when it's time to nurse (after the bath and story time with Daddy), but tonight the call never came. Lincoln was mellow and relaxing on David's lap, and after some walking and back rubbing, he was happy to go to sleep without the usual nightcap.

I can hardly believe it, and I'm so relieved! This is a first for us, although Grandma was able to get him to go down with no problems a couple weeks ago so we could go cavort with some fellow geeks for a night. This just opens up a whole new world for me! Look out nightlife, here I come!

May 12, 2010

the stuff of (my) nightmares

Just as we were drifting off to sleep last night, I could hear the sound of sirens, and it sounded like they were getting closer and closer until the sound stopped moving, and I realized that it was because they were close. My eyes snapped open at the realization, and I saw an orange glow in the hallway, reflected on the white wall. I jumped out of bed, my heart racing, and through the kitchen window I saw it: a wall of flames towering fifty feet tall and shining as bright as day.

I croaked out something along the lines of "oh my god- monkey" and David joined me in the living room to see what was happening. We watched in silence and awe, David holding me tight from behind, as the flames shot into the sky and illuminated the night.

The home sits in the same place on the block below us that our house does on ours, and because we are up the hill, from our deck the view is not unlike one you would have in the balcony of a theater. We watched from this too-close vantage point as the firemen battled the blaze, and in less than ten minutes, the giant wall of flames was replaced by billows of thick grey steam. Ash and smoke flew through the air and I shook with nervous panic and terror.

Unfortunately, last night was actually the second time we have been in such close proximity to a devastating home fire like that, yet I still find it impossible to really describe the scene. It's one thing to see a home burning on the news, or in a movie, where the screen buffers the reality and tempers the horror. When you're close, as close as I ever care to be again, it's simply a nightmare. The heat, the smell of the smoke, the flying ash that blankets the yard. You can hear the panicked voices of the neighbors and feel the rumble of the trucks. When I close my eyes I can still see the flames.

I checked on Lincoln- made sure he was breathing and the horror of the night wasn't contagious, and we returned to bed. My mind raced and my body twitched and quivered, my anxiety assuming a physical form. We don't know the people who live there, but I wondered about them and hoped that they were okay. I had visions of arsonists, and of faulty electrical wiring, and I got out of bed to make sure that I had remembered to unplug the iron downstairs. I thought about what I would do if it had happened to us- and I knew in my gut that there would be no wall of flames too tall to prevent me from getting to my baby boy. I thought about what I would grab in the mad rush out the door, and I realized that there was nothing, or rather no thing, that I think I would bother to stop for. Lincoln's baby book? Maybe, but only if it was on the way. It's not the idea of losing stuff that terrifies me about house fires (and they have terrified me my whole life), but the violent unpredictability of it. As a person who enjoys her life neatly organized and P-touched, the sheer chaos of fire and the inability to control it is for me, easily the most horrifying part.

I lay awake until after one, and Lincoln, blessed boy that he is, didn't wake up until almost seven this morning. I thought about how grateful I am that he's small, and he didn't see what I saw last night and doesn't have to try to understand it. I'm grateful for his innocence and a little bit mad that someday he's going to have to see awful things and experience the shit that life can throw at us, seemingly at random. I found a story of the fire in the news, and learned that the family of three was all safe. I can see for myself that their home is destroyed, and the fire crew remains there as I type this, sorting and investigating. I can see clearly now the three triangular holes in the roof that I heard the firemen cutting at one in the morning, the roar of the chainsaw interrupting the quiet night.

Most of the time I think I just cruise through life, believing that everything is good and easy yet thinking that as good as it is, there still must be more that I want and need. Then something comes along and, like a slap in the face, forces me to be present. And despite the sleeplessness and the nightmares, I find that I'm absolutely grateful.

May 7, 2010

I'm a contender!

Exciting news! My entry for Spring Top Week has made the top 60! The judges selected a dozen tops each day to be voted on by the readers, and my top is in today's batch.

There are TONS of amazing tops in this year's pool. You should check it out for spring sewing inspiration or just to see how talented the entrants are. Seriously. I'm honored to even be in the mix!

April 30, 2010

better late than never

So, remember (approx. 1 million years ago) when I said that I was planning to enter something in Rae's Spring Top Week? Well, today is the deadline for entry, and even though my top has been finished for over a week, I just uploaded the photo to the pool a moment ago. I'm not very on top of things these days. In fact, it was recently brought to my attention that it's been over twenty days since I've even been here at all. Holy hell. How did that happen? I mean, it's not like I'm busy or anything! Just sitting around at home, raising a baby. Oh, right... that must be it. That baby- suddenly he's everywhere! Crawling around, pulling up on the furniture, bonking his head every chance he gets. Constant vigilance is my new middle name.

But anyway, the point is, I finally got my act together in at least one arena, on the very last day. Here's the top I made from a dress shirt that I inherited when Gus grew out of it got tired of it:

I cut my pattern pieces using a shirt from Old Navy as a rough guide for size, then just kind of winged it. The back of the shirt already had a box pleat, so I took advantage of that to add some fullness and then gathered the neckline up with a twill tape drawstring inside of a bias tape casing.. The sleeves are simply serged with a rolled edge hem and then gathered up with a double row of elastic thread stitching. I sewed the button placket shut to avoid any potential mishaps and eliminate gaping.

I'm pretty pleased with the result. I've worn it twice since I completed it, which I think is already a record for a top that I've sewn myself.

Plenty more to share soon, but at the moment my free time appears to be over. I hear the little one bellowing through the baby monitor as I type.

April 8, 2010

best friends forever!

I finished a second doll from the Wee Wonderfuls pattern for Mom's school auction. I think they make a cute pair!

April 6, 2010

cat and mouse

Over the last year or so, our cat Loki has proven himself to be quite a hunter. We were pretty surprised the first time he brought a bird in the house, as he's not only declawed, but pretty lazy and slow. Since that first incident, he's caught another bird, and a handful of what we think are voles from the yard. And, he's generous enough to bring those little prizes right inside the house to share them with us, thanks to his kitty door.

This afternoon, Lincoln and I were upstairs minding our business when I heard the cat start meowing repeatedly and with conviction. He's a loud cat anyway, so I ignored it for awhile, but then I scooped Lincoln up so we could go down and see what all the commotion was. Oh, lucky day- it's a dead thing! Right in the middle of the living room floor, a wee little rodent. Loki was nearby on Lincoln's floor mat, obviously quite proud of his achievement.

I backed out of the room, unsure exactly how to proceed. I considered my options: Maybe I could pretend I never saw it, and let David take care of it when he gets home... but, it's only 1, and that means a dead thing in my living room for four plus hours. I could get a broom and a dustpan, sweep it up and throw it away. Gross, but doable. I could put on some rubber gloves, grab it and dispose of it like an adult. Gross. Probably not an option.

It was time to feed Lincoln lunch, so I decided to take care of that and think about my problem a little bit more. I sent David a text message alerting him to the situation and hoping to elicit a little sympathy. He was appropriately sympathetic, and surprised when I suggested that perhaps Loki needed a nice home on a farm somewhere where his mousing skills would be more appreciated.

I texted my friend Zena as well, sure that she would have some solid advice for dealing with my dilemma. Also, she would understand that this was horrible and so not in my job description.
Me: "F-ing cat brought a dead thing inside. A mouse or vole or something. Am freaking out."
Z: "Um... yikes. Broom handy? So you don't have to get close?"
Me: "Yeah. I'm upstairs ignoring it at present. Hoping it will vaporize."
Z: "You sure it is dead?"
Me: "Pretty sure. Didn't get too close, but it looked like it was on it's back with feet in the air. Classic dead thing pose."
Z: "Right. Or playing dead. Go put a bowl over it so it can't escape."
Hmm. Playing dead? Do things really do that? It hadn't occured to me. Good thing I got her involved! As soon as I'm finished feeding Lincoln his lunch, I'll find a box or a bowl or something and cover that sucker up. Then maybe I can screw up enough courage to get rid of it somehow.

So we ate. Lincoln had some cheese, and some banana, a few bites of my rice. He's so cute when he eats. And so determined to feed himself. It's pretty adorable. But, dead thing in basement! Focus! Let's see... are any of our neighbors home? They might be interested in helping me rid the house of dead rodents. Darn- there goes Rod now. Probably my best option, and he's driving away. Okay. You can do this. You're a tough woman. A mother. Yes, you can!
Me: "Ok. Putting on big-girl panties. And rubber gloves. Be right back."
Z: "Good luck!"
I grab my weapons of choice and head downstairs. A pair of pink rubber gloves and a gift bag from a hair salon. It's nice and sturdy, so I figure I can just knock the thing in with a broom and I won't have to touch anything. The rubber gloves are just an extra precaution, but seem like a good idea. I get to the bottom of the stairs, turn right into the living room, and...

...nothing. Um...crap. Shit! Gone? How is it gone? It was dead!? It's gone??? Oh no. I'm so busted.

So yeah. Looked everywhere. It's gone.

I figure there are a couple of possibilities:
  1. Zena was right. It wasn't really dead, just pretending. That means it's running around downstairs somewhere. Not a huge fan of this possibility, I've got to admit.
  2. It was dead, and the cat decided that since I had seen his prize and approved, it was best if he took it back outside. I like this. Definitely leaning this way.
  3. It was dead, or not. The cat ate it. Every little bit. No trace remains. Gross. But, circle of life, etc. Fine with this mostly because it means I don't have to deal with it.
  4. It's dead, and the cat decided that I didn't show enough approval of his hunting prowess so he moved it somewhere that I might appreciate it more. Like in my bed or on the couch cushion. Closed bedroom door as soon as this thought came to mind. Haven't seen cat come upstairs, so this is not likely. Right? Hopefully.
So yeah. Moral of the story: Cat for sale! Cheap. Good hunter! Get him while he's hot! Don't miss this opportunity of a lifetime. Last one! Act fast, people. Ugh.


David came home and saved the day. The little bugger was under the couch (dead). I guess when I said "I looked everywhere" I may have exaggerated a bit... I meant, you know, scanned the area. Generally. Gah.

And that is totally the aforementioned "classic dead thing pose," btw.

Also, I forgive him for throwing the cat's other (fake) mouse at me after he picked up the couch and spotted the vole, completely causing me to lose my shit (again). Because he not only took care of the business, but he sprayed the floor down liberally with some earth-friendly disinfectant too. Thanks love!

But seriously- who wants a cat?

Oh, for shame!

I recently took some photos of my sewing room to showcase just how awful things have gotten in there in the hopes that it would shame me into action. You can see the whole, embarrassing debacle here:

Hopefully I'll have some promising "after" shots to show off soon. And by soon, I mean sometime in the next decade, obviously. Aim low, that's our motto!

Honestly, the problem (at least in my mind) is less the stuff itself, and more the way I'm utilizing the storage. The room has served as a parking spot for all the random storage cabinets and shelves that we have around the house, and I've tried my best to use them wisely. Unfortunately, that hasn't always happened, and I have a lot of underused space and misguided stashing going on in there.

I know that there's a way to reorganize the space in a way that makes a lot more sense, and I'm determined to figure that out. I'm afraid if I don't, I'll go in there someday and never escape, having been swallowed alive by a toppling tower of fabric.

Wish me luck!

April 5, 2010

and not even terribly fun while it lasted.

So, that was quick. I'm back to being just a mama with no (official) job title. At least for the next couple of weeks.

My tenure with Pearson came to an abrupt end when I failed to maintain the standards of excellence set forth by the state that I was scoring. This might be attributed to a glitch in the performance review tracker, which was malfunctioning that day, or, more likely, was due purely to my inattention to the task at hand.

I'm kind of embarrassed, as I'm not the kind of person who typically allows herself to fail at anything, and I've certainly never been fired from a job; but honestly, I'm mostly just relieved. It was much harder than I had imagined trying to squeeze enough quiet, focused time out of my day to make that job happen successfully. I was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to manage to work the measly minimum requirement of 20 weekly hours when I was "excused" from the project and suddenly that burden was lifted. Whew. I hadn't even realized how heavy it was until it was gone!

And luckily, the folks at Pearson are a forgiving bunch. Just because scoring this project didn't work out for me, that doesn't mean that I can't work on future assessments. In fact, I'm signed up for another one that starts next month. And that project has shorter responses that should be easier to score with my limited resources as a spread-too-thin mama. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll be unceremoniously fired from that project after a week also. I guess we'll find out in a bit...

April 4, 2010

makin' memories!

Hey all, Happy Easter to you!

In case you're curious how we celebrated here, I'll provide a little run down of the highlights for you:

Woke up at 8:30 am to the sweet sounds of Lincoln talking to his monkeys in his crib. Impressed and thankful that he slept in so nicely for us, until we realized that it was really just a malfunction of the dumb futuristic alarm clock that we have. It had "sprung forward" this morning for no apparent reason.

Made waffles from this recipe (pretty much- except I didn't have enough yogurt) with my new birthday waffle iron.

Played on the floor with the little man. He's officially mobile now, so that's exciting.

Ham sandwiches for lunch. I'm counting that as our Easter meal, since Mom always made a ham for Easter every year, and we're not really celebrating officially. It's close enough, yeah?

A two hour nap for everyone! That might have been the best part of the whole day. Lincoln rarely naps that long, but today was a treat, and we took advantage of it.

And yeah, that pretty much wraps it up. Exciting day! And so clearly a tribute to the holiday... We figure that Lincoln's too young this year to remember anyway, so our laziness is forgiven. But, if I start planning now, maybe next year we'll be able to do something like these amazing ladies did to celebrate:

Beautiful Ukranian dyed eggs at Wisdom of the Moon
Insanely detailed egg crafts at Chez Larrson
Chocolate Easter Surprise Eggs at not martha

Alright, off to make some festive Easter tacos for dinner! Hope you all enjoyed your day!

April 2, 2010

We'll call her Roxy

She's done! And like I told David, I hope that Lincoln likes playing with dolls, 'cause she was really fun to make! Sewing all those tiny clothes reminded me so much of when I was a little girl and I used to make outfits for my dolls (and my dog- poor girl!)

And I've got to give it to Wee Wonderfuls- this whole pattern is great! Not only are the dolls easy to put together and super cute, but the clothes are fun and well designed too.

I made the little blouse and jumper outfit from some scraps and fat quarters that I had lying around. I decided that the fine-wale corduroy would be a perfect little jumper for this blue-eyed little gal, and the rest kind of flowed from there.

The jumper pattern calls for lining, so I selected a bit of Amy Butler's Kaleidoscope Dots for a fun pop of color. I appliqued the circle and a button to the front and used a bias trim leftover from another project for the hem rather than folding and hemming the skirt like the pattern suggested. Mostly just because I'm addicted to bias trim these days.

And guys, seriously. There's even a pattern for a cute little underwear outfit! Adorable. I decided on the pink stripe because it reminded me of some kind of old-fashioned ticking stripe little house on the prairie sort of vibe and it seemed appropriate for a one-piece underwear suit.

And oh my. Shoes! Cute, cute, cute. They're black wool felt, and I cut slits all around the top and wove the ribbon through.

Please note: if you have a child, you can tell them to expect one of these awesome dolls as a birthday gift at some point. I think I'm addicted!

March 31, 2010

work's in progress

No, that's not a typo. Work, for me, is officially now in progress. And it turns out it's just one more ball perpetually in the air for this juggling mama.

I mentioned before that I'm doing some work from home for Pearson. They're a company that processes student assessments, and they hire people like me to score test responses remotely. I'm currently working on fifth grade writing, so I'm becoming quite familiar with the excitement of gymnastics and playing basketball and baseball, and the ins and outs of various video game consoles. Reading and scoring these short responses takes much more time and focus than one would perhaps think, and it's been a challenge the last week to squeeze in this new responsibility on top of all the rest. Adding to the challenge is the time constraint presented by the Pearson system itself, which I can't access after 11 pm Central time- only 9 pm where I live. So, a few minutes during nap time and an hour or so after the monkey is in bed are all the moments that I really have to devote to my new job. And that's fine, but it's not going to be paying the rent any time soon.

Lincoln is adding to the chaos by becoming more mobile all the time. He's almost figured out crawling, but hasn't quite got the coordination to get very far in one go. It's a combination of rolling, army crawling, wriggling, and some hands-and-knees work that gets him moving at this point. And on Saturday he figured out how to push himself up from his belly to a sitting position. Exciting developments!

He's also working on cutting his sixth tooth, and he's using all those chompers to eat anything he can get his mouth around. In addition to his regular cereal and pureed fruits and veggies, he's started eating more things from our plates, like bites of fish, chicken, and tofu, noodles, and pieces of bread and cheese. He will seemingly eat anything you put in his mouth. And he's starting to be able to get things in to his own mouth as well, although the pincher grip still needs a little work.

I'm managing to squeeze in a bit of sewing and creating in the in-betweens, and I'll have some things to share soon. Some is the product of necessity (laminated cotton bibs and a floorcloth for my messy boy), and some by request (a doll for mom's school auction). I have big plans to participate in Spring Top Week again as well, but we'll see how that goes. I'll have more info on the bib and floorcloth in the form of a pattern and tutorial in the near future, but for now I'll leave you with a shot of the cute little doll I've been working on.

She's from the Wee Wonderfuls pattern Kit, Chloe & Louise that I purchased at Christmas time but never managed to get to. I have two more cut out, but she's the farthest along. And she'll be dressed soon, promise!

March 22, 2010

one week later

I almost forgot to show you what was in the box, and I know you've been waiting on pins and needles.

I know it may be hard to tell from my terrible photo, but it's beautiful, and so perfectly me. I love it. And so does the grabby little monkey that I'm always carrying around, so we're having lots of lessons on gentle touching these days!

And speaking of the little monkey, he has FIVE teeth now! The two middle ones on top came in around the same time, about two weeks ago. Then a third top tooth popped through on Saturday. There was no sign of it on Friday, but I woke up on Saturday morning and there it was. Nuts! And so cute. See:

He really looks like a kid now with all those teeth! No more gummy baby grin; it's a real boy!

And, one week in to my thirties and I have yet to cross anything exciting off my list. Or even finish making the list, but you know, details... I did, however, treat myself to a fabulous new pair of red shoes. And a drawer full of new undies. Because sometimes you just need to throw all the old ones away and start new, you know? And because red shoes are fun. At least Lincoln approves.

Also, I might have a bit of real honest-to-goodness work! If I can pass the qualification round, I'll be scoring fifth grade writing for the Standards of Learning for the Commonwealth of Virginia. It's a job I can do from home, which is awesome, but it's only temporary. Still, it's better than nothing, and hopefully it will lead to further opportunities with the company. Now I just have to find a couple of hours before tomorrow evening to actually pass the test! Easier said than done when you have a busy little guy like Lincoln to wrangle.

March 15, 2010

happy birthday to me!

Well, today's the day. I'm officially in my thirties now. And I woke up to find this waiting for me on the table:

Not a bad way to start the day! Can't wait to see what's inside!

My birthday always seems like a good time to make some personal resolutions, and I've often used the date as a deadline for making some kind of change in my life. Find a new job, leave a vice behind, grow somehow as a person, you get the idea. Thirty in particular seems like a good time to establish a few goals for the next decade of life. Nicole over at Making it Lovely has a 30 Before Thirty list that I found inspiring, but seeing as how I've already passed over onto the dark side, I guess I'll have to make mine a 30 For My 30's list.

I haven't finished it yet, but a few things that I think deserve a place on it:

  • Create more just for the sake of being creative. It's true that I do a fair amount of creating, but it's most often something that I've been commissioned to do. I have lots of ideas in my head about things that I want to make just because, but I never seem to give myself the time to do it. That's silly, and I'm going to make the time.
  • Read more. I've been reading baby-related books for over a year now, and very little else. I love to read, and it's time I took it back. I'm starting with Jane Eyre for the Bronte-Along with Melissa of Yummy Goods. Melissa, by the way, owns a shop in Cape Cod that looks just the way my own shop would, when I close my eyes and imagine myself as a shopkeeper. Inspiration abounds!
  • Travel. Hubby and I both have a strong desire to see the world. There are plenty of excuses why that's not realistic or practical, but excuses are lame. I'm setting us the goal of taking at least FIVE vacations (or mini-vacations) in the next decade. That sounds completely achievable now, with all ten years to go. For the purposes of this list, a vacation could be a simple weekend away, or it could be the more in-my-dreams excursion to Italy. I was looking at Amtrak's packages the other day, like Yosemite by Train or the Empire Builder to Montana's Glacier National Park. Traveling by train seems like it might be a good way to go while Lincoln is small.
  • Eat less sugar. Especially since Lincoln was born, I have had wicked sugar cravings. I'm sure some weird hormonal imbalance was probably to blame at the start, but I'm equally sure that by giving in to the cravings, I've fed and nurtured that little sugar monster that has now taken up permanent residence in my belly and brain. I need to break that cycle, but it's so hard! Cookies! Ice cream! Candy! And the fact that breastfeeding has allowed me to indulge without much negative consequence is even worse. As soon as that safety net is gone, I know I'll pay the price (and the cost will be an entirely new wardrobe to accomodate my gigantic ass). Refined white sugar is so evil in so many ways anyway, it's probably best if I just give it the boot entirely. But baby steps. Because candy! Cupcakes! And hello, Birthday Cake!
  • Watch less TV. I think I might be able to get away with blaming David for this one. After all, when we started dating, I was living with no TV and I was fine with that. I had never seen Grey's Anatomy, or Lost, or most of the other shows that I'm hopelessly addicted to now. But don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'm going to give up on my shows entirely. After all, Lost is almost over (THANK GOD!), and I have a special place in my heart for Michael Scott and Pam and Jim and a whole host of others. However, I will try to be more selective about what earns my butt a spot on the couch. I want Lincoln to see us actively involved in our lives and participating in activities that we love, not just zoning out on the couch all the time. It's about balance, right? Not elimination, but balance.
Okay, enough for now. I have some work to do to make that a list that I can actively work toward during the next fabulous decade of my life. And right now, duty calls (in the form of this little bundle of adorable):

I just love the little chubs, and those fun bath time hair-do's.

March 10, 2010

so pretty!

Lincoln and I were having some fun this morning:

And Daddy, before you get concerned that I'm letting him dabble in mama's make-up bag a little prematurely, let me reassure you. It's only plums.

Ha ha! We fooled you! That was fun. By the way, how cute am I? OMG. Seriously.

March 5, 2010

all present and accounted for

Hey all! Long time. We're still here! Not too much to report, just kind of hanging out with the monkey and enjoying the nice weather and each other.

We've been taking a lot of walks lately, mostly to the library and around old Burien. We stop frequently at the puppy store, just to see what kind of cuteness they have at that moment. Lately it's been a little Chiweenie. Yes, that's a real thing, apparently. It's one of those designer breeds, half Chihuahua and half Dachshund. In case you're wondering, it's adorable, and you are welcome to buy me one for my upcoming birthday. Only not really, because my husband would have a cow. And then we'd have two extra animals to take care of.


Yes, my thirtieth birthday is approaching. Rapidly. March 15th, aka the Ides of March. Beware! Old age is heading my way. I'm not scared though. The gray hair and wrinkles have been around for years already, and pregnancy and childbirth have already transformed my body into the fancy new mom shape that's all the rage these days, so I figure there's nothing more to worry about. A few years ago I used to say that I couldn't wait to be thirty, because I just knew that by then my life would be all figured out and so much less chaotic. Thankfully, I think I was right! Life is looking pretty good from where I sit.


I've been cooking a nice and quick dinner every night for the last couple of weeks thanks to Dana's suggestion that I check out the Six O'Clock Scramble. So far all the recipes that we've tried have been really good, and easy to prepare with fresh ingredients. I've found that it's just so much easier to go to the grocery store and pick up enough ingredients for a few days at a time, rather than trying to figure everything out each day. And I love that you can customize your menu on the website, and then print out a grocery list that includes everything you need for all the meals. So easy. And I broke the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book back out and now we've got dough in the fridge too. Fresh baked bread makes any meal that much more enticing, in my opinion, and you can't beat the convenience of the system that they've devised.


We visited a doctor at Sleep Medicine Associates the other day and we've already noticed a huge difference in Lincoln's sleep habits. We were really close to having everything all figured out, but the advice we got really pushed us over the edge. Lincoln has gone from sleeping between 9 and 10 hours at night to between 11 and 12, bringing his 24 hour total close to 14 hours. He's a much more cheerful boy in his awake hours now. This morning I even found him happily playing with a stuffed monkey in his crib when I went into his room, instead of him waking up crying. And the best part has been his quick return to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Last week he would be up for 40-60 minutes after his middle of the night meals, meaning that all three of us were awake between 1 and 2 am, and again between 5 and 6, and then we started our day at 6:30 or 7. Since our visit, Lincoln is only awake long enough to eat, and we're all back to sleep within 15 or 20 minutes. YAY!!!


Lincoln has also already outgrown the 9 month clothes that we moved him into in January. And I expect him to be crawling any minute now. He's figured out how to push himself up onto his hands, and he can get his butt up in the air on his knees, he just can't quite coordinate it all together just yet. Any time though, I'm sure. It's all happening so fast! It feels like just a few weeks ago that he was just a little mushy blob that would curl up and fall asleep on David's chest. Now he's scooting himself all around on the floor and eating anything that comes within a foot or so of his mouth. He's proving to be a good little eater, which should come as no surprise. His two top teeth also look like they'll be making an appearance very soon. I can just see the tips of them through the gums, so we should have a full set of chompers pretty soon. How cute will that be?

February 26, 2010

an unhealthy man

I found out Thursday morning that my dad had a heart attack on Tuesday evening. I can't say that I was terribly surprised, as he's always been significantly overweight, he smokes like a chimney, eats whatever he wants and his general attitude is that he's invincible to the forces of nature and is always testing the theory. I had kind of assumed that he would end up living to be 120 or something, just to spite everyone who may have thought otherwise or ever told him to diet or quit smoking. And the heart attack didn't kill him, so maybe he still will.

I haven't had any contact with my dad for a long time. Going on thirteen years now. For a long time I didn't have a relationship with anyone on his side of my family, but for the last couple of years I've been in touch with his sister and her family, and I've seen my grandparents a couple of times as well. My Aunt Carolyn is the one who called to let me know. She left me a message Wednesday evening, and I checked the message the following morning. (I'm terrible at retrieving voicemail- be forewarned.) There are usually a couple of messages in there from my mom, sitting unchecked for days, and they're always novella-long, so I'm often uninspired to listen to them.

When I heard Carolyn's message, I was confused about how to react. I mean, it's my dad, and of course I don't wish him dead or anything, but I've also moved on from my life with him in it. I didn't really feel anything, which of course made me feel kind of guilty and heartless. It sounds so awful to say that I don't care that my dad had a heart attack, but I kind of don't really care... and before you say "whoa, that chick clearly needs therapy," let me tell you that I've had some, and that's how I've gotten to the point I'm at. I think it's actually kind of a good thing, as crazy as that sounds!

So anyway, I called my Aunt and she said that they got him to a hospital and went up through a vein in his leg to his heart and found a clot. They "roto-rooted" it out, as she put it, and he's recovering. He should be fine, and now that he has a fresh clean artery, I have no doubt that he'll be around for a long time more.


When I started writing this yesterday, it seemed a lot more important for me to get it out and off my chest. Today, it just seems trivial and I can't think of anything inspired to add. So, it is what it is. Estranged father avoids death; daughter carries on. The end.

February 19, 2010

my little secret

Even though it represented the height of modern convenience, I felt compelled to remove the old wall-mounted can opener from our kitchen pretty much the moment I moved in.

In case you missed the technological advances of the 1960's, it was a contraption like this:

(not our house, but you get the idea)

And although it was an improvement, I was left with a hole in the wall with two electrical wires capped off with wire nuts. Not the prettiest aspect of the kitchen, to be sure.

My solution: put our knife block in front of it. Out of sight, out of mind! We also talked dreamily about putting up a tile backsplash a few dozen times, but never roused the initiative or funds to make that happen.

That was all fine until yesterday, when I decided to rearrange the kitchen to make more functional use of the countertops and available space. The knife block and cutting boards, which had been fairly efficient camouflage for my gaping hole, were relocated across the room to our new "prep zone". You can probably imagine that having this ugly hole in the middle of our kitchen was not going to work for me. Not even a little.

Thankfully, hubby was considerate enough to buy me a card for Valentine's day, despite the fact that we don't typically like to endorse those fakey made up commercial holidays. And it just so happens that his card was lovely enough to frame, so I was able to cover the hole with a pretty and functional new piece of art for the grand total of zero dollars. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

Now, just promise that you'll pretend that I never told you that there was a big hole in our wall, and if you come over don't stare! I'll know that you know, and you're looking right through the art to the unfinished wall behind. Repeat after me: out of sight, out of mind!

And if you were curious, the card says:
Some people make the world more special just by being in it.
I know, right? Sorry ladies, he's taken!

February 16, 2010

stuff & things

Lincoln is sitting up by himself pretty well now. It amazes me how quickly babies learn new things! We really only started focusing our attention on sitting last week, making sure that he practiced for a while each day sitting in between our legs or with us holding him steady. Within a couple of days he was so much more stable, and yesterday I was able to walk away and get the camera and when I came back he was still sitting there smiling at me! He still face plants occasionally, but he just rolls over and keeps playing!


Mom brought over three more bins of special treasures that she has hoarded away saved for me over the years. Inside were a few actual treasures (photos of me as a baby, a newspaper article documenting my five minutes of fame in fifth grade, some special notes from mom's baby shower) and a WHOLE lot of garbage. Least questionable but still doomed for recycling were every single one of my progress reports and report cards from preschool through senior year in high school, and EVERY certificate or award I've ever gotten. There were pages commending my participation in Jump Rope for Heart and D.A.R.E. in elementary school, student of the month and thank-you-for-being-a-library-volunteer certificates, FBLA awards and ribbons, and much, much more. And as I said, those were the least questionable items.

Now that we have Lincoln, it's easier for me to understand that desire to document your child's successes and keep that kind of stuff for posterity's sake, but seriously. Some of these papers have been stored for 30 years! Not coincidentally, I'm currently reading It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh, the guy from TLC's Clean Sweep. In it he talks about this kind of sentimental clutter in a way that I think makes a lot of sense:
If something is important, give it a place of importance. Find a way to respect and display that memory. If you're not treating it with honor and respect and you can't find a way to do so, then get rid of it.
Just having all those documents stored away in boxes in the closet wasn't doing anything to honor the memory of the achievements, nor does throwing them away make the memories disappear or belittle my successes. In all honesty, that stuff was just a fire hazard! It was time for it to go. I saved a few little tidbits that I found actually meaningful and that held sentimental value, and I'll scrapbook them or put them in an album so I can actually enjoy the memories. And I've made a promise to myself that if in a six months, they're still in a box just waiting to be scrapbooked, those things will go out the door with the rest.


In other news, Lincoln's sleep schedule seems to have regulated a bit more, and naps are going a little better than they a couple weeks ago. It really is just so much a matter of being consistent. Consistent in timing, in ritual, and in attitude. A month ago, I couldn't get him to sleep alone in his crib for a nap no matter what I did and I was going insane. Times have changed though, and now he'll usually sleep for an hour or sometimes two without much trouble at all. Of course, since I typed that, he woke up screaming after just 25 minutes and wouldn't settle back down. It's still kind of a crap shoot, I guess!


I've been making granola with this recipe for the last couple months, and it is so good! I've been using a mixture of slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts because that's what I had on hand, and adding dried cranberries. Today I had some leftover Cranberry Cove mix (from shopping PCC's bulk bins when I was hungry) that included apples, pumpkin seeds, papaya, cashews, and some other yummy goodies, so I threw that in. It's delicious! We like it over Trader Joe's Greek style apricot mango yogurt, but it's also good for just snacking on.

And speaking of food, I'm trying to get better about meal planning and grocery shopping, since that's pretty much my least favorite thing in the world. Ideally, I would have an idea of the things we're going to have for dinner for the whole week, and then I can just go to the grocery store once and get everything we need. Instead, we end up stopping at the store for one meal worth of groceries on the way home from work, or I rummage through the freezer and pantry and make a concoction of whatever's already here. You would think that this would be one of those things that I would enjoy, along with all the other weird organizational things I obsess over, but no. Any good suggestions for this headache?

February 11, 2010

halfway through!

Halfway through the first year, that is! Lincoln is six months old today. I know I keep saying this, but it has just gone by so quickly, I can't stand it.

Our little bug has two tiny teeth, a full head of reddish hair, and he's so tall he looks much older than his six months.

He's full of giggles and smiles and is rolling all around. He's pushing up on his hands when he's on his belly, and scoots around in circles and travels short distances by wriggling and squirming his legs and arms.

Everything you hand him is destined for his mouth, whether it's meant for eating or not. And he does like to eat a few different things, including bananas, carrots, peas, sweet potato, and rice cereal. He blows bubbles and makes groaning noises and chatters to himself and anyone who will listen.

He can sit up unassisted for a little while, which is fun because it makes it even easier to get things into his mouth.

He sleeps in his very own room at night now, from seven p.m. until seven a.m. most nights, awakening just once (or sometimes twice) for a quick snack of momma's milk. Unfortunately, he's also pretty much abandoned his daily nap schedule, so the battle for sleep rages on, albeit on a new front.

He's so curious and interested in the world, and he excitedly reaches out to touch the faces of the other babies at the playgroup we attend most Wednesday afternoons. He laughs and grabs at the puppet that sings the hello song.

He recognizes the sign for milk, and will turn anxiously toward me with an open mouth when I sign it while he sits on my lap.

He's the most amazing little human I've ever had the pleasure to meet. He pulls my hair and grabs my glasses right off my face, but then he gives me a great big sloppy open-mouthed kiss right on my cheek, and I forgive him immediately.

I love you Lincoln! Thanks for letting me be your mommy. It's been an amazing adventure so far!

February 7, 2010

my mother is crazy
my mother is a crazy hoarder

my mother is a hoarder

So last night my Mom left a message in my voicemail. She was moving some boxes out of a closet so workmen could get in and replace her water heater and she came across a couple of sweatshirts. She's not a sweatshirt person, so she's never worn them, and she wondered if I wanted them. The collection included one with a big purple H in honor of my high school (I graduated in '98), one that I brought back to her from Paris when I traveled there in 1995, and a third with "Seattle U Mom" embroidered on the chest.

For what I presume are obvious reasons, I did not want them, and when I returned her call I told her as much. I suggested that since she had never worn them and never would, she should donate them to the thrift store. She scoffed at such a ridiculous notion and said "Oh no, I couldn't do that!" I assured her that there was nothing sentimental about a couple of sweatshirts, and she was being foolish. Declaring that she might wear them "someday", she decided she would return them to her closet, where I will surely find them after she's died, still unworn.

She came by not long after to visit Lincoln. When I opened the door she handed me a file folder of paperwork that "I might want". Paper-clipped to the front was my certificate of completion from Defensive Driving school, dated 1996. Inside, a collection of brochures from Seattle U, a generic "Dear Parent" letter from the director of Freshman Success at SU, a couple of high school report cards (one was actually just a photocopy of the original), my financial aid award letter from Freshman year, and a letter welcoming me the Alber's School of Business and Economics (my major for less than one school year). To round out the collection: a verbose and angst-y letter that eighteen-year-old me had typed (in cursive font, no less) to my estranged father, along with his terse (also typed- in courier) response. My two-page letter and his two-paragraph reply, stapled awkwardly nowhere near the corner and edges misaligned.

What that motley collection of documents were doing all together is anyone's guess. Why I might want any of them- another mystery. And I know that Mom's closet is stuffed to the brim with boxes containing many more files just like this one. All those meaningless documents and reminders of things and times long gone. Just knowing that makes me want to rent a big dumpster and rid my own closets of everything that I might have tucked away "for someday". Doing that won't help her though.

I told David that I should have told her that I did want the sweatshirts, if only so that I could throw them out for her. But again, it won't help. The sweatshirts will just be replaced by some other meaningless trinket that she has assigned a sentimental value where none exists.

Now I'm not suggesting that there is no value in holding on to the things that matter. That's not the case at all. I could understand a box with a well-loved baby blanket, or a dog-eared copy of her favorite novel, or even ticket stubs or similar ephemera- reminders of a full life well lived. But no such box exists- just stacks of junk. Maybe it's in the absence of those more meaningful things that she feels the need to save the rest?

There may not be tunnels of junk leading from the front door like you see on those intervention shows or when Oprah has a hoarder on, but oh yes, she's a hoarder. I have the file folder to prove it.

February 3, 2010

Coolest craft medium ever?

Yesterday Amy of Mod Podge Rocks wrote a sweet little bit about the jar of olives that I gave to David for his birthday. Thanks Amy! Check it out here.

And you should definitely take a look at some of the other awesome projects while you're there. Seriously, Mod Podge is some amazing stuff!

I think Lincoln needs an elephant like this one.

Or how about this beautiful table? Or this one?

I'm completely inspired!

February 1, 2010

still here!

Wow, it's been forever since I've stopped by here to say hello. Anyone still here?

Hi! I've missed you!

Things have been great, and a bit busy. Now that we're (sometimes) getting a little bit more sleep than we were, it seems like we've had a lot more initiative to get out of the house and go have adventures during the day. The weather probably helps a bit too.

In the last couple of weeks we've done a lot! We took a walk to the fancy new library, went for a walk on Seahurst Beach, went to the Baby Play play group at FamilyWorks, tried to go to the play group again but it was cancelled, went for a walk at Lincoln Park with a new friend from PEPS, met a wonderful old friend for lunch and shopping at U Village, met my sister for lunch at Bellevue Square, toured Three Tree Montessori, and saw ALL of our grandparents! It's been lots of fun.

See, look how much fun we're having:

We also had a lovely woman from Safety for Toddlers come out and give us a whole-house baby-proofing consultation, since Lincoln's rolling all over and crawling is probably just a few short weeks away.

It was a little bit overwhelming, but we got a ton of really great suggestions and she pointed out some things that we never would have considered. We learned that there is a baby-proofing gadget for everything, and now we just have to decide what is really valuable and necessary.

We added some cool new book shelves to Lincoln's room based on an idea that Gus saw on ohdeedoh:

It's just a couple of Ribba picture ledges from Ikea. It's perfect for kiddos who can't read, because then they can choose books by looking at the cover. Plus, it's a super cute addition to his room. Love it!

Also, thanks for your feedback on the trim for the last mixer cover! She chose the polka dots, as that was the hands-down winner, and she totally loves the result!

More to come! Be back soon!

January 19, 2010

a dream come true

Well, as excited as I was yesterday, I didn't want to say anything lest I jinx it. Today, however, I'm confident enough to share the most exciting news I've had in quite some time:

Sleep has returned to the James household!

That's right kids, our old friend sleep is back. And I'm not talking about just an hour or two, or a measly little nap- but multiple hours of sleep all strung together into one uninterrupted stretch. I myself slept from a bit after 11 pm last night until 4:45 am. And I'm finally not too sleep-deprived to do the math, so I can tell you that that amounts to 5 hours and 45 minutes of blissful dream-filled sleep! (And that was just the beginning!)

Forgive my obsessive recounting, but I honestly haven't had more than two hours of sleep in a row since I can't remember when, it's been so long. But before Lincoln was born, for sure. And even in the last months of my pregnancy my bladder was shrunken to the size of a pea and I was too uncomfortable to sleep for longer than a couple of hours anyway. So seriously, it's been MONTHS!!

And before you get worried, Lincoln is still alive and well, and even still residing under our roof. It turns out all the kid needed was his own room and a little less meddling on the part of his mom, and the boy can sleep like a champ.

As many of you know, we've been co-sleeping/bedsharing with Lincoln since the night he was born. Although we had a crib and it was even assembled and waiting in Lincoln's nursery, he hadn't slept in it for even a few minutes. Ever. Until Sunday. Sunday, which came after Saturday, which was perhaps the Worst Night Ever. The worst night since Friday, that is, which was the worst night since Thursday. I think you get the idea... things were not going well.

So Sunday we bought some black-out curtain material for Lincoln's room, and we took all the miscellaneous junk out of the crib that Lincoln could choke on or tangle himself up in, and when it was bedtime we did all the usual things:

We gave him a bath, we read him some stories, we nursed and sang lullabies. We turned on the ocean noises, and we put him to bed.

Except this time, we put him in his crib in his bedroom instead of in the swing or the co-sleeper in our room. And I'm not going to lie, there was some crying. But honestly, that was mostly me. Lincoln was asleep in no time at all, and the best part of all was that he didn't wake up after only one hour. Or even after two hours. He went to sleep at 7:40 and he didn't wake up for hours.

We came upstairs to go to bed at 11, and Lincoln was still quiet. He slept through me dropping the baby tub in the bathtub right next to his room, and through David breaking a wine glass in the kitchen. He hadn't made a peep in so long that my meddlesome brain got the best of me and I went in at 11:20, just to make sure he was alive. He was not only alive, but quietly awake, just contently hanging out in his crib. He probably would have fallen asleep again on his own, but I picked him up and nursed him back to sleep, just in case. I put him back in his crib, expecting the worst, but he just rolled over and went back to sleep. He didn't wake up again until 4:45, and once again, a little nursing and he was right back out until 6:30, when I brought him back to bed with me (admitedly more for myself than him).

The same scenario repeated itself again last night, except we managed not to drop or break anything when we came upstairs, and I forced myself to leave well enough alone and didn't even go check on him. He rewarded us by sleeping all the way through until 4:45, and then after a snack he slept again until 7:35 when I brought him to bed with me and we snuggled and snoozed until 9.

And sadly, I can't even say that I wish someone would have just told us that it would be this easy to regain our sleep, because unfortunately, pretty much everyone had. I just assumed that there was no way that Lincoln could possibly sleep alone in his crib better than he slept with me: his source of nourishment, the one he turns to for comfort, and presumably his most favorite person in the whole world.

Every time someone suggested that we put him in a crib, or just let him cry a little bit, we would smile and say "Oh, that will never work for him". Obviously, since he wasn't sleeping well with all the interventions we were performing, he was just a bad sleeper. As per usual, I had read every book about baby sleep that I could get my hands on, and I thought we were doing everything we should. It would just take time, and maturity, and everything would work itself out. I kept telling myself that, and we kept waking up every hour and a half.

And all the books said that infant sleep is cyclical, and that it was normal for him to come in and out of sleep many times at night. And they all also said to listen carefully, and to make sure that we were only intervening when Lincoln actually needed us to, and that he would often be able to get back to sleep on his own. And I read that and I absorbed it, and yet I continued to meddle, all night long, night after night.

I was adamant that David's sleep be preserved, because he had to get up and go to work while I am fortunate enough to stay home and take care of Lincoln. And I really thought that the best and easiest place for Lincoln to sleep was right by my side, so I charged myself with the task of keeping his nighttime noise to a minimum. I was physically and mentally incapable of letting him stir or cry out in the night without getting involved. Always meddling.

I guess sometimes you just need to leave well enough alone. Apparently Lincoln is perfectly capable of sleeping on his back, un-swaddled, motionless in a crib in another room. He just needed the opportunity to try. Let it be a lesson to me, indeed.

And despite the two wonderful nights of sleep I've had so far, I admit that I am a little sad that sleeping with my little monkey didn't work out for us. There's nothing better than snuggling with a warm and sweet-smelling baby all night. Sure, his leaky diapers were kind of a drag, and I was spit up on more times than I care to recount. And lately, he'd taken to kicking me repeatedly in the night, and wiggling around a lot, but I don't care. I miss him anyway. I am glad that all three of us are sleeping so much better though, so I guess it's worth it.

January 14, 2010

can you help?

Hi friends! Need a little assistance here.

I have a customer from Etsy who has requested a snazzy reversible mixer cover for her sweet pink KitchenAid. She's selected the fabrics that will be the main pieces for both sides, and we've narrowed down the trim to two choices. I like both options- she likes both options. We're looking for some more input!

The year-round side of the cover features an Alexander Henry print called Le Coq de Granville. It's on a neutral background with the rooster silhouette printed in varying tones of greens and pinks and reds. The reverse side is a holiday print, also by Alexander Henry, called Angel Cakes. It's awesome! It features angels building a ginger bread house, frosting cookies, and generally making Christmas magic on a limey green background. The same pinks, reds, and greens are present on each side, so the trim will coordinate with both.

Below are the mock-ups I sent over to help her decide (template created by the handsome and talented Gus, of course). Keep in mind that these are photoshopped renderings of the fabrics from web images. They're not exactly to scale, and the colors and designs may not be perfectly represented. It does, however, give us an idea of what the finished product might look like.

For this option, the trim is a pale pink polka dot print, with darker pink and maroon dots. I like the subtle pattern, which doesn't compete with the roosters for attention, and matches the colors nicely.

On the Christmas side, the polka dots bring to mind frosting with sprinkles or something- and again, the colors and pattern complement without overwhelming.

The other option is a busier pattern, but it works so well with the other prints that I love it just as much. It's another Alexander Henry print from the same Granville line, so the colors are perfect. I like the way the curvaceous shapes echo the shape of the fan tail of the rooster on the year-round side.

On the Christmas side, the pattern makes me think of a candy tile roof like you might see on a gingerbread house. There are none present in this particular fabric, but the idea is there, and I think it works! This print is busier, for sure, but it's such a great complement to these fabrics that I think it's also a really great choice for the trim.

SOOO, bloggity friends, what do you think? Feel free to click through on the photos to get a bigger view in Flickr, if that will help you decide. Post your opinions here in the comments and I'll pass your wisdom along.

Thanks for your help!

January 12, 2010


And just like that, they're here! We went from the little nubs we could just see through the gums in this picture, to fully realized teeth in just a matter of a day. These little buds are officially erupted, and they are sharp!

Lincoln slept a little bit better the next couple nights after they broke through, but it's still kind of sketchy. I guess the worst is over, but I imagine it's still going to cause him some discomfort for a while.

And because I was dying to try out the Babycook, I steamed and pureed an apple yesterday for Monkey to try. Lincoln was less than impressed!

The look on his face was actually pretty hilarious, because he was initially really excited to be seeing food again, and leaned in like he did last time, expecting something wonderful. Once the bite was in though, he closed his eyes and kind of shook his head like he couldn't believe what he was tasting. It was awesome, so naturally, I got out the camera and filmed his reaction as I continued to torture him.

You're welcome!

January 6, 2010

Dear sleep: We miss you! Please come home!

For the last couple of weeks, Lincoln's already questionable sleeping habits have declined into the downright miserable category.

We've been sticking to our nighttime ritual of a bath and a story or two before swaddling him up tight (still? I know), and putting him down in the swing at about 7. Used to be he would sleep that first stretch for four or five hours, then I would bring him to bed with us for a pleasant remainder of the night.

Used to be. Oh, how I miss those days right now! Any complaints I had about those wonderful, blissful days, I gladly take them back. Eat my words. And my hat, if necessary, because oh my- how times have changed!

Like I said, our nighttime ritual remains the same, but now that first stretch of sleep is approximately one hour. Sometimes an hour and a half, sometimes just forty minutes. And despite what all the books recommend about just going in and shushing him and lulling him easily back into dreamland, our little monkey demands more. Demands it at about fourteen-million decibles, to be quite plain. And not for just a minute, either. Sometimes for an hour or more.

We try it all, rocking, shushing, singing, walking, un-swaddling, swaddling again, bouncing, snuggling, humming, etc. The only thing that ever usually works is nursing, so fine. Scream, nurse, sleep, repeat. Problem is, the forty minutes to hour and a half interval does not get any longer as the night wears on. The kid is waking up all night long.

A couple of weeks ago, I would barely notice if Lincoln woke up in the middle of the night. He's sleeping on me and we just got into a rhythm of switching sides when he woke up and drifting right back to sleep. Lately, he doesn't just stir- he starts kicking and bucking around, and vocalizing a LOT.

It was possible before that a whole night would go by without David being woken up at all by Lincoln and I, even though we were just a foot away in a not-overly large queen size bed. Not any more! I'm afraid my husband's sleep is just as destroyed as my own lately. I've taken to actually getting out of bed and leaving the room so poor hubby can get some sleep, since he does have to go to work, after all.

Alright, so enough whining. I'm fairly certain I have pinpointed exactly what is causing all the drama, and I'm also fairly certain that there's nothing I can do about it.

See those giant, swollen gums? See the tips of two little teeth about to poke through the surface? My baby is about to have TEETH! How is that even possible, when I swear he was just born a minute ago?

But more importantly: once those puppies break through, will he sleep again? Seriously. This has to stop! Look at my thumb nail there. That's bitten to the quick because when he's screaming and I'm exhausted, that's my first response. Hey- it's better for me than smoking.

Okay, nap time, gotta run. At least those don't seem to be too impacted. If he stops napping too, I might have to pack him up and ship him to some far-flung destination where no one can be affected by his cries. Luckily, I'm pretty sure he'll still fit in a Priority Mail flat-rate box. The big one, obviously.

January 4, 2010

It's a mother-daughter thing

With all the holiday craziness, I neglected to show you a couple of the most recent orders from my shop. You may recall when I made the cute Red Riding Hood mixer cover for Stacey a few weeks back, around the same time that I made Desiree her sewing machine cover. Well, both ladies were sufficiently pleased with their purchases, enough so that they each ordered a Christmas gift for their moms from me too!

Desiree's mama is a crafty seamstress just like her daughter, and she actually sews for the clothing line that Desiree designs called Palm Tree Princess. So, for mom, a custom sewing machine cover just like the one for Desiree (they have the same machine), but in colors that Desiree thought her mom would enjoy.

The fabric is from Tanya Whelan's Darla collection. The main print is called Darla Rose in butter, and the accent is Ticking in green. A very old fashioned influence, but modern and clean in the execution. I like it!

And then a couple days later, when Stacey inquired about a cover for her mom's mixer, she asked a very intriguing question: Is there any way I could make it reversible?

I thought about the construction and decided, nope, there's no reason I can't! So for Stacey's mom, the very first fully reversible twill tape KitchenAid mixer cover!

The main side, which will be on display most of the year, is Alexander Henry's Starling fabric in natural. Super cute.

The reverse, special for the holiday season, is the funky Michael Miller Yule Critters in lime. How fun is this? Clearly, that whimsical flair runs in the family!

Because the ruffle is visible from both sides, it was important to choose two fabrics that would play together nicely with the same trim. I think the Robert Kaufman red polka dot print that I chose fits the bill. Both ladies have since let me know that their mothers were happy with their gifts, so I'm thrilled!

Thanks for the repeat business! It means a lot. And the reversible cover has inspired a few more shoppers since. Two of the three orders I have pending currently are for reversible styles. I love it!

January 3, 2010

Big Surprise!

Guess what?

Lincoln LOVES food! I know, I know, you're shocked.

We decided to try giving him a bit of rice cereal this weekend, just to see if he would like it. Turns out he thinks it's pretty yummy, and he couldn't have been happier unless we would have plunked him right down in a big vat of the stuff.

He was all about getting his whole body involved in the process. He was leaning way over, and grabbing the bowl and the spoon like maybe we could get it in just a little faster if he helped enough.

We tried again the next day for breakfast, and he was still excited!

I don't think we're quite ready to make solid(ish) food a part of our daily routine just yet, but we're close. He's not quite sitting up well enough on his own to make the target very easy to hit.

We did get the Beaba Babycook for Christmas from my sister though, and I'm excited to give that a whirl. Watch this space for pureed squash on the chin in the very near future!