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!