Sunday, November 23, 2014

A baby-wearing coat!

I could stare at this view alllllll day. Sigh

  As most of my readers/friends know, Eli had to wear a Doc band due to a flat spot on the right side of his head. I honestly have no idea how he became flat on the one side other than a short 3 week span where he sucked his right thumb at night and would bend his head to the side to get it. (I witnessed this on the baby monitor when I was surprised one night when he started crying and then stopped almost immediately. Lo and behold, he'd found his thumb!) But just as quickly as he had started the thumb sucking, he stopped cold turkey. I have no idea why. Weird. Anyways this is the only theory I can come up with as to why he was flat on the one side and not the back since I always placed him on his back to sleep. Well of course I dealt with mommy guilt over that one so I am bound and determined to spare Andrew the same fate by baby-wearing whenever I can and doing plenty of belly time. I also figured it would be a must-have to get anything done around here with a 3 year old to tend to as well.

  One day on Instagram, I stumbled upon a girl using a Sollybaby wrap and I instantly fell in love with how light weight it seemed and how much easier it looked to use compared to the Moby wrap. It even had a little pocket at the end  to tuck itself into and would take up little to no space in the diaper bag! Sold! (Well after I heavily debated for weeks if I wanted to spend the money on one versus trying to make it myself.) Once I had made up my mind to buy it and that little boxed arrived, it sat on my kitchen table and made me so giddy for Andrew to finally get here. I couldn't wait to try it out and I still had weeks left to go in my pregnancy! Aaaah!

  The minute we walked through the door after being discharged from the hospital though I made a beeline for that little box and excitedly put it on and got him snuggled in there. It was heaven and just as awesome as I'd hoped it would be.

   Well now that we are in full blown winter weather and there will be snowmen to build and sledding to do with Eli, I wanted to be able to have an option to go out with Andrew as well. I began googling DIY options for a baby wearing coat and saw some pretty cool options out there, but ultimately I found one listed on Etsy that was what really caught my eye. (It even doubled as a maternity coat!) With a hefty price tag of $158, I couldn't justify buying it for the few times I might actually be outside in this polar vortex. I felt if I had this coat I'd be more likely to go outside with Eli and daddy but it wasn't a given that I would, so I'd hate to spend that kind of money and only start to use it in the spring time, if at all (especially since I wouldn't be using it as a pregnancy coat now that I'd already had my baby.) So I stared and stared at that picture and decided to give it a go at making my own. I must say, this is one of my proudest sewing moments, you know why? Because first off, I drafted my own pattern pieces (there was no tutorial available, obviously) and not only did the pattern pieces work out the first draft, I didn't have to make a single alteration to them once I started! This is unheard of for me! I've made clothes before, but usually its following an established pattern. So for me to draft my own pattern and not have any measurement errors is baffling to me. Before I do a project, I will sit down with my notebook and write it out as I see it in my head, step by step. If I can see it through to the end in my head and then ultimately on paper, then I'll proceed with the construction part. Guys, it went without a hitch! Whaaaaat? 

Here's the inspiration picture. Gorgeous huh?
  Here's what I came up with. 
Collar down, neck exposed.
Collar up, neck warm
   Although a loud floral isn't typically my style in coat design, I had this fleece already in my stash so I wanted to see if it would even work, before I went through the trouble of getting to the fabric store and buying new stuff (because if I had done that, you KNOW it would have never worked out. That's how my luck goes) However, I'm kind of really liking it. Maybe because I associate it with success so it's likeble to me now, ha ha!

    I didn't care for the tie option like in the pic (I originally made it with the tie but it just didn't look good to me) so I just went with short straps and velcro. Also I couldn't figure out the top part as it looks like it zips up through the collar and down the chest piece...? How far does it go down? How would a carrier fit under that? (Obviously it could per the seller's claim but I still couldn't figure it out) so I just did a wrap around collar with buttons that could also be left undone and worn down if the weather is warmer but still requiring a coat.  The front wraps from both sides for 2 layers across baby's back. The under wrap piece has a strap that sticks through a hole on the side and velcros in place. The outer wrap also has a similar strap that also secures with velcro along the side.
The inner front flap secures through a hole on the side

And the outside strap is secured along the side with velcro as well
   So what do you think? Would you wear it? I'm bummed I didn't have the opportunity to try this out while pregnant. But then again, I purposely planned a non-winter baby so I wouldn't have to buy a pregnancy winter coat that I'd only get to wear for a few months. True story.

  Alrighty, time for bed for this momma. Na night.


**Update, I made another coat for a friend and this time added buttons to the straps instead of velcro. I definitely LOVE the solid colored fabric for this coat.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

An update on being a mommy of 2.

   First off, I just want to say how absolutely CUH-raaaazy I am about these two little boys. Sigh. If you told me 5 years ago that I'd be a mother of not one, but two BOYS, I'd laugh in your face. I was going to have a house full of girls didn't you know! I would put them in frilly outfits and do their hair every day in fun styles. I had plans to make ruffled diaper covers, baby shoes, and bonnets to match every little dress in their closets (and I WOULD have too if you know anything about me. Ha!) Fast forward 2 years, and I found myself staring at boy parts on an ultrasound and my chin hit the floor. But I wouldn't have it any other way. 

   Now that I'm on my second boy, I'll be honest, a part of me still wonders what my life would be like to have a little girl as well, but never in a million years would I ever have believed how much I could love little boys. Eli has been a pure joy except his terrible three's moments and so far Andrew is a lot like him and a GREAT baby.

   Mommy confession time. I had a cabbage patch doll as a little girl who was my "real" baby. Gosh I loved that thing. Then one day I had the opportunity to get another cabbage patch doll and in my little girl thinking, if one doll was so awesome, two would be even better! But what I found when I got this second doll is that it didn't mean as much to me as my first and I ended up ignoring that second one. I felt like a horrible "mother". I beat my 10 year old self up about it. Because of this experience, in the back of my mind I've always worried about having more than one kid and loving them equally, especially since Eli already had my heart nearly bursting. I couldn't imagine how I could possibly shove any more love into what I thought was a confined space. But you can! It stretches! Phew, what a relief!

  Next fear of mine: Eli would be insanely jealous of now having to share mommy/daddy/grandma/complete stranger's attention and would start regressing in his behavior. This kid is a people person and thrives on attention. Would he act out? Would he be mean to his baby brother? He's potty trained now, would he start having accidents? How would he be with his favorite people now fawning over a brand new baby? Just fine it turns out! He loves him and loves showing him off! He talks to him all the time. If Andrew cries, he immediately notifies me (even though oftentimes I'm actively in the process of soothing him, ha ha.) "Mommy, Andrew needs milkies. He's hungry." When we're in the car and Andrew starts singing the song of his people, ("waaaaaah!") Eli will respond with "hush little baby, don't say a word..." It all makes my heart soar. I wish you could see how Andrew stares at Eli as he dances like a maniac in front of him and turns to face him when he's talking to him. I don't know what it is about Eli, but even I don't always get Andrew to focus on my face, ha ha. 

First night home, Eli is loving on him

He's always asking me to take their picture together.
   So now that I can definitively say, 6 weeks in, that those 2 fears are a moot point, we have fallen into a nice little routine. Andrew is a great sleeper/napper and eater and Eli is a great helper (when his 3 year old self wants to be, that is.*wink*) While pregnant I wondered how I'd fit in all those nursing sessions with another kid to tend to but again, Eli surprised me by being incredibly patient and waiting until I'm done feeding his brother. He hasn't shown any resentment or anything. It's just understood that mommy is busy with the baby and he will find something else to occupy his time until I can get him what he can't get himself, usually a snack. I also wondered if all the prep work I did while pregnant would even make a difference. For example, I constantly talked to Eli about Andrew and what to expect. I told him he was going to be a big brother and that one day, although not right away, they would have lots of fun playing together. I warned him that he'd be pretty boring the first year and that he'd have no words to use and would only cry to communicate and that we'd have to be patient with him and figure out why he was crying. I explained that he needed to always be gentle with him and that as a big brother he needed to protect him. Now, I'll over hear him explaining to people meeting Andrew for the first time that "he cries because he has no words" and "I'm his big brother, I protect him." So he is getting it, and he is listening. That kid is a little sponge. Every little phrase and term of endearment I say to Andrew, I've heard Eli parrot. It's hilarious! Love that kid.

   One of the main reasons the transition has been so smooth is because of my hands on hubby and the boys' amazing grandparents. Once again, my mom has bent over backwards to help me out whenever I need the help. She offers to babysit and to let me have some mommy time and takes the BEST care of them. My hubby, being considerate of my sanity, arranged in advance to have his mom come stay with us for the past 2 weeks while he'd be traveling and she's been a Godsend as well. She is the baby whisperer and both kiddos adore her. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she has a doctorate in child psychology because she knows exactly how to handle a willful 3 year old (I know you know what I'm talking about.) So lets add preschooler whisperer to her list of talents as well. It's fascinating to watch! She reminds me of Cesar Millan, only with children, ha ha. True story.
I have yet to see her NOT get a baby to sleep, even when you swear you've tried everything!

Love them.
    I'm not going to lie, having my mother in law here has been great and I'm going to be sad Eli will bother me at 6am instead of her she's leaving. I can't thank her enough for her help these past 2 weeks!

   In the meantime, my hubby has made it clear he's set on having just 2 kids so I'm soaking up EVERY cuddle, coo, and gassy grin I can get. I wish I could bottle up the baby smell and have it on hand for when they're teenagers and I want to wring their necks because it'll take me back to this moment in time and remind me just how worth it it all is.

 Night night,