Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lots Going On These Days


I finally finished that painting for over my sink that I've been working on for months now. Actually I started it a few months ago...forgot about it...then pulled it out yesterday and finished it. Haha. I sort of rushed it yesterday because I just wanted to hang it up already. But I think it turned out okay.


In other news, Rowan slept like an angel last night! Well, compared to previous nights at least. He slept for about 3 hours at a time. I think he only woke up 3 times! He's a snuggly little muffin. Still a pain in the neck to feed though. But I figured out last night that if I pop a binky in his mouth to get him into suckling mode, then quickly pull it out and nurse him, that would get him to eat with much less of a fight than he usually makes...

Adrianne, however, woke up about 4 times last night because she "had to go to the bathroom." Hmmm...suspicious... She hasn't woken up at night in months (aside from the occasional night terror-like episodes). But, she is just going through phases right now, adjusting to sharing the stage. I'm sure this one too will pass. At least...I hope...

Furthermore, the hubby and I are officially registered for classes for the late spring semester, which will be beginning in March. I'm pretty nervous about the prospect of trying to get through school work while also chasing around a toddler while also attending to one fuss muffin of a baby. (Rowan isn't that fussy, by the way, I just make it sound that way because I was spoiled with a perfectly silent baby Adrianne.)

But where there is a will, there is a way! That is definitely my motto. In fact, it's probably annoying how much I say that. Whatever, I'm just an optimist! =)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wonder


I'm so glad that I put Adrianne's creativity table by the window when I had the whole living room rearranged back before Rowan came along. One of Adrianne's new favorite past times is kneeling on her little chairs and gazing out the window for seemingly hours on end.


You'd think she'd get tired of the same old scenery day in and day out. But quite the contrary. She just loves seeing the cars and the people outside. She especially loves watching the snow fall. It's so adorable how she narrates what she sees out the window. Since she used to pronounce "snow" as just "no," we started telling her to try saying it with an "s" sound. So now she will sit there and repeat to herself quietly over and over..."sssss...nooooo....."


She also loves to knock on the window at her imaginary Grandmas and Papas. Knock-knock-knock..."Ma-nga!" (That's how she says "Grandma" at this point.) Then she'll point out the "car" or perhaps she also sees "Papa." And of course she's always munching on her favorite snack: pretzels. It's like she's at a theater or something.


She is content to just sit there watching for so long. I love when she just puts her hand up against the window and then turns around and holds it out to me saying its "cohhh..." (cold.) Then I have to warm her hands up against my cheeks.


She is still so full of wonder at this stage of the game and I love it. I know it is only just beginning, too. I am so excited for her childhood, as I know she will have a beautiful imagination. She already does. I can't wait to nurture that wonderful sense of curiosity and creativity. The realness of magic that is present in childhood is something that is still all too familiar to me. I think it's such an important thing to hold on to.


So whenever I get flustered as I clean up potty-training-regression-poopy-pants, I just try to focus on that goofy, smiley, full-of-magic, crumbly pretzel face of hers and remember that everything she does is just part of her own growth process. When she purposefully ruins another pair of perfectly expensive Hello Kitty panties, I know she is just trying to figure everything out in her own way. It's not easy learning how to live in this strange, chaotic, beautiful world. But you know what? She's doing a damn good job. And I just love being there by her side as she does.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2 Weeks


Well, it's been 2 whole weeks now since Rowan was born. If he were to arrive just on time, he would have been born today. That's weird to think of!

The little guy is becoming a little bit more awake now. He stays up in the morning usually for a couple of hours. Maybe another couple stretches like that throughout the day. I was finally able to get a decent picture of his open eyes today! He has the same steely dark eyes that Adrianne had.

Rowan has been doing this slightly less than adorable thing at night...He likes to wake up...and stay up...every night as soon as his Daddy and I hit the sack. It would be totally fine if he was awake like he is in the day time: silent, angelic, gazing around contentedly. But instead he just likes to cry and grunt and make a fuss all night. I'm starting to wonder if he's afraid of the dark. Or maybe sleeping in his comfy bed with the lights all off is just a little too womb-like for him. Haha, he's probably thinking "Hey, I thought I opted out of this whole womb thing early for a reason?"

But try as I might, I just can't even be upset about it. I know it's probably just something I'm doing wrong that makes him so irritable at night. We'll figure out how to get this kid to sleep soon enough!

A few little quirks about Rowan so far:

  • He sneezes...a lot
  • He chokes on average twice per feeding (scary!)
  • His least favorite part of the diaper change is getting the new diaper on
  • He sometimes grunts randomly really loud in the middle of his sleep
  • He is a really loud eater like Adrianne was (one of the biggest reasons I prefer to nurse in private, haha!)
  • He is a good burper, yay! Adrianne never burped, ever. Boys will be boys, I suppose.
  • He sleeps with his fist against his head a LOT. So cute...
Like this...^

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baby Ro-Ro


The other day, Adrianne started calling Rowan "Ro-Ro." It's so adorable! She is still so fascinated with him. I love watching her just waltz on over to him every once in a while throughout the day just so she can give him a sweet little kiss on the forehead.

There is so much about Rowan to love. The way he always winks at me or just gazes around sleepily with one eye closed is just too cute. Also, the way he will just sneeze eight times in a row is pretty funny too. Adrianne never sneezed as a newborn, she just had the hiccups 10 times a day. But Rowan never gets the hiccups. Just sneeze attacks!

I wish I had started this blog back when Adrianne was born, because then I would have frequent documentation of the things she did when she was teeny tiny. Some day soon I will inevitably make a flashback post about Baby Adrianne.

I can't believe how big she is! Seeing her next to Rowan now really puts things into perspective... I'm trying to soak it all in. I know Rowan will be that big before I can even catch my breath.

At least for now he is my cuddly little angel. Won't be long now before he is running away from my hugs and kisses, just like his big sister!

New Site Design

In an effort to get more personal with my website, I decided to hand-draw an entirely new site design for The Better Nester. (Although, it was colored digitally.) I'm pretty happy with the way most of it turned out.

But what do you think??

Let me know!

Monday, January 23, 2012

DIY Kid's Art Organizer


This little art supply organizer I made was a fun, easy project. So I thought I'd share with you what exactly I did.


First, I got together a couple of cardboard oatmeal containers and a cereal box. I like the Cheerios boxes because they are bigger than most cereal boxes.


Then I cut them all down to the size I wanted. The oatmeal things were a pain to cut but if you just go slow and trim them afterwards to make them look a little neater, it's not so bad.


Finally, I covered them with colored paper (glued on with just Glue-All or Mod Podge) to finish them up, just like I did in my Notebook Organizer Tutorial. To attach the cups to the box, I used a line of hot glue along the paper seam on the cups and stuck them to the sides of the box.


And there you have it! A cute little storage system for your kiddos! You can even let them decorate it. =) Have fun!


Linked to these parties!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Big Sister


I am so proud of Adrianne for being such an amazing big sister. Being a big sister is hard work! Little boys are a lot to look after! But Adrianne makes it look easy.


It's so sweet the way she gives Rowan kisses on his forehead. And it's unbelievable how careful and gentle with him she always is. She knows how to keep her distance. But she also loves to interact with him.


She gets a kick out of playing with his fingers. She also likes to point out to me that he has eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth just like she does. She's so smart!


I love the way she observes him with wonder. She always looks so fascinated with him. Why wouldn't she be? He's an interesting little dude!


It never ceases to amaze me how very much alike they are. He makes the same cute little squeaky noises in his sleep that she used to. He makes the same silly facial expressions. One of them happens to be this adorable little "chulip" face, as we like to call it. It means "smooch lips" essentially, in Japanese. Adrianne and Rowan have the same kissy mouth face that I've never really seen before, and yet they both have done it!

I can't wait to see them grow up together. They are already so loving towards one another. Rowan has a tendency to stare at Adrianne if he is ever awake and in the same room as her. I know that they will be a great pair of brother and sister.

Adrianne's "chulip"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mei Tai Style Baby Carrier Tutorial


I've made up a tutorial on how to sew a baby carrier inspired by the Mei Tai or other asian baby carriers. I love this carrier because it is so comfortable for both mama and baby, and the best part is that it is easy to make yourself! Looking around online, I've seen mei tai's for sale for really high prices. After wearing one, I'd say it's worth it. But come on, you can totally make one yourself!

I have a lot of lower back pain, and I can tell you this carrier does wonders for my back. I've had one of those regular old baby carriers and I felt like a cripple every time I took it off. But this baby carrier is awesome.

So anyways, here is your photo heavy, super in-depth-ish tutorial on how to make a basic mei tai baby carrier! ((The measurements I use in the tutorial are for a small/medium size carrier. This size fits both me and the hubby quite comfortably. You may want to just sew on some extra length to the straps if you need a larger size.))

YOU WILL NEED:


Fabric! Sturdy fabric, like canvas, works very well. Here I have 3 yards of quilted fabric so that my carrier is nice and soft, but not too thick.

STEP ONE:


Cut the fabric length-wise so that you have THREE strips of 3-yard long pieces of fabric. Cut ONE of the strips in half so that you are then left with two 1.5 yard strips instead of one 3 yard strip. The width of the strips depends on how wide you want your straps. Make them a little more than double the width you want. So, for example, my strips were about 8 inches wide, giving me 3.5 inch straps once they were finished.

STEP TWO:


Now, fold each strip in half, length-wise, and pin it down.

STEP THREE:


Sew them all down along the open edges, length-wise.

STEP FOUR:


Then sew just ONE of the short edges closed.

STEP FIVE:


This is probably the most exhausting part of the whole project. Turn all four straps inside out. I find this to be easiest if you grab a bit of the fabric from the inside and pull it out as shown in the photo above.

STEP SIX:


Now you don't have to do this part, necessarily, but I like to sew the strap down flat by just sewing a straight line down the middle. Since my fabric is padded, this just makes it neater. If you have an already flat fabric, you might want to try top stitching the strap down all along the outer edges. But this step isn't exactly necessary, like I said.


When you finish, you should be left with four completed straps that look a little something like this:


STEP EIGHT:


Now, with your remaining fabric (or with a separate cut of fabric, if you are unfortunate), cut out two rectangles measuring about 18" x 20" for the body of the carrier.

STEP NINE:


Now we're going to get ready to sew together the body. So we need to pin the straps to new rectangles we have.

Start by pinning the short straps to the bottom. Leave a few inches hanging off the side of the fabric and fold the strap so that it fits inside the body. Copy the photo above. We are going to sew this thing inside out, so get ready for some awkward pinning.


Get the other shorter one on the other side of the bottom of the fabric.


For the long straps, you want to place them diagonally, like so. Fold them down diagonally so they don't get in the way of your edges, where you will be sewing soon.


Keep folding until you have all the straps tucked neatly inside.

STEP TEN:


Pin the other rectangle down over top of the straps now. Make sure you have the edges of both body pieces lined up perfectly. Squeeze it all in there.


I must emphasize the importance of having the straps away from the edges. Stick your fingers in the gaps to make sure they are not in the way. You do not want to sew them down except for where they are sticking out of the fabric.

STEP ELEVEN:


Now sew along the edge of the body, going over the straps as well. Take it nice and slow, one side at a time.

!!IMPORTANT!! Leave an opening at the bottom of the body so that you may turn the whole thing right side out afterwards! See below.


Here's what you'll be left with. Notice the opening at the bottom.

STEP TWELVE:


Begin turning the carrier by pulling the straps out. Then continue to flip the whole thing right side out.


We're getting there!

STEP THIRTEEN:


Fold the opening at the bottom back in and pin it shut. When we do the top stitch, this will be sewn shut.

STEP FOURTEEN:


Top stitch along the very edge of the whole body, making sure that you do indeed catch all of the pinned down opening to ensure that it closes.

STEP FIFTEEN:


For the shorter straps at the bottom, reinforce the straps by sewing a criss-cross shape over them, like I have done in the picture above.


And VOILA! You now have a mei tai style baby carrier!

For steps on how to wear one, check out the tutorials on the web. A good one can be found here. I will try and make a tutorial of my own as soon as possible.


Enjoy your new carrier!

[linked to]

Little Zzz's...


There's just something about having a baby sleep in your arms that just makes it feel like time has stopped. They are so peaceful when they're asleep. Even if you're sitting in the middle of a maelstrom of noise, they can just sleep right through it. It's like the world around them doesn't even exist.

If only we could all be so unaffected by the chaos we are surrounded in!

I'm sure you've all heard the phrase "sleep when the baby sleeps." Well, when you're pulled out of bed five times a night, it's impossible not to take that advice. But I do find myself having a bit of trouble with it anyways just because I love watching my babies sleep.

I can remember when Adrianne was this tiny.


Every minute I spend with Rowan sends so many memories with Adrianne flooding back to me. I forgot how their little eyebrows twitched in their sleep and how mystified they look when they finally open their eyes and look around at the strange new world they live in. He is just so much like her, despite how different they really are.

Every minute I learn to appreciate them in the moment more and more. People always tell me to "appreciate them while they're small," and I can guarantee that I do. The saddest part is that they still get too big too fast!
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