Busy, Busy, Crochet, Crochet

When they told us in childbirth class that nesting and a burst of organizing, tidying and preparatory energy was a sign of childbirth I was worried. Oh no, that's me. This was two weeks ago and I was not at all ready.

But then I remembered, that's kind of always me. I think the medical veracity of the nesting and tidying as a sign of labor may be a little questionable, or just coincidental. You know the due date is imminent, so you hustle to finish up the nursery and clean the house. And at the same time the baby arrives, because your due date is imminent.

Regardless, it's been a little hard remember to stay still and rest when there are a bunch of things on my "to do" list. While I thought that signing up for a crochet class was really insane so close to my due date, it has actually worked out quite well. I have to sit on the couch and put my feet up to do my weekly crochet homework. (Though it seems like I can't really get my feet nearly high enough, long enough, to alleviate their swelling. I have meatloaves attached to my ankles.)

But here's some of the outputs of my resting (not nesting) moments: 2 scarves!One a granny square* style and the other a ruffle that's still in progress. When that one is done I also have another bag of yarn waiting...for another scarf. Good thing Chicago is so cold. And that baby seems to be in no hurry to arrive early, no matter how much I clean and tidy.

*Crocheting on the train ride home, one of my wise-ass friends thought to comment, "You know Claire, you could have stopped at becoming a mom... you didn't have to go all the way to Grandma."

Everyone Needs One of These

One item that became part of my pregnancy wardrobe was the Bella Band (or its cheaper Target version, the BeBand.) Early in pregnancy it's intended to allow a pregnant lady to continue to wear her normal pants a bit longer. It's an awkward feeling though, because you're basically walking around with your pants unbuttoned and unzipped, but hidden, held up and together by a stretchy band. (It might also be helpful for Thanksgiving.) At this point in my pregnancy I am just tired of my maternity tops and have used the band to allow me to wear some of my larger regular tops without revealing any belly in the underhang of my shirt.

I've come to realize that this maternity accessory may have its utility for the younger set. Those ladies wearing their low slung, hip hugger jeans, which often also reveal their underwear (usually a thong) underneath. It's known as "whale tail." Fitting a longer camisole underneath a top isn't always practical since low jeans are often topped by a tight little top. So, if I could be an advocate of a small addition to every young lady's wardrobe, it'd be the Bella Band. A secure covering for the exposed backside - although Jason pointed out that some of those young ladies might be exposing themselves intentionally.

I might get one of these (not stretched from my current belly) for my own lower jeans when I can fit back into them...someday.

No News is Just No News

If I had a dollar for everyone I saw at the office on Monday who exclaimed, "You're still here??!" I could have paid for my lunch at the cafeteria. And worse was that every person who said this thought they were enormously clever and funny. "Ha-ha-ha-ha," says the uncomfortable pregnant lady. (Due date is still a few weeks away.)

And just in case blog readers are wondering, I haven't been blogging so much because I've been busy, not because there's already a baby in my arms. I promise, you'll hear about that.

There is progress to report:

Though lamented in a prior post, we've now got a place for baby to sleep, courtesy of the never-ending generosity of Grandma Nancy. Mattress is installed, sheets atop it. Pack n' Play is also assembled. Baby now has his pick of sleeping stations. None of which he'll like on some nights, I'm sure.

And with that screen door that was held hostage by our contractor returning I began to wonder if all I had to do to make wishes come true was blog about them, I'd have asked for much more, much sooner. World peace, please! Chocolate ice cream that burns calories! Cats who can trim their own claws! (And maybe do the laundry for us too.)And maybe I'd wish for co-workers who say either genuinely funny things, or nothing at all.

I even finished up my crochet class, with three mostly finished scarves to show for it. Must finish those soon, stay tuned for pictures.

One of My Very Favorite Places

One of my very favorite places is the Paper Source store. I'm not even a scrap booker, but I am a note writer, occasional journal keeper, and complete sucker for colorful, beautiful paper products.

I had a legitimate purpose for going to the store (envelopes for the thank you notes that inevitably follow all these baby showers!) but of course I found myself picking up many things not on the shopping list. The last time I was at the store I filled my arms with so much stuff that I dropped it all just three feet short of the register. Oopsie.

Here are some of my very favorite Paper Source items.

The Wall CalendarLots of gifts no one really needs, but anyone might be delighted by like...this owl mug, though I decided birds and owls are a little overdone right now.Erasers that remind me of being seven years old in Japan.Note cards, note cards, note cards: love. love. love. I fell in love with a graphic from last year's calendar, and found it in note cards. Their designs are bright, modern, and stylish. After watching my Grandma check her mailbox at the senior center in Florida and finding it empty, I might need to start sending her more cards, so we can both enjoy these cards.

And as the name suggests, pretty papers, from Japan, India, Nepal and even Paper Source's own designs. You might remember some Paper Source paper from the cabinet project when we first moved in. I already want to go back, since this paper could find some purpose in our bedroom.

A Mobile for the Little Man

There's lots to do, like writing thank you cards, assembling a "pack and play", figuring out how a carseat goes into the car, crochet class homework, and delegating my work to lucky co-workers. So why not also embark on a new little craft project for baby's room? A mobile! I spied something like it on etsy, and realized I could make it myself with the right supplies: felt balls, wire hangers, and some string. (And another blogger helped me confirm the gist of its assembly.) I know my boundaries though and ordered the felt balls. (I know they aren't that hard to make, but let's find some limits.) Plucking the orange, blue and green ones out, I threaded them onto string, and then tied them to the wire frame. It was pretty quick.

Here's the final product, hanging above the intended place for changing baby's diapers. Conveniently, the heating and cooling vent is just above, which should provide some gentle breezes to encourage movement. If time permits I might try to add some sewn felt boxes or balls in black and white high contrast to attract baby's eye. (Plan B: buy these too.) The little balls are probably easier for an adult eye to catch. And don't worry, it's high enough to be far away from grabby little hands (and curious cats, I think. Or else stay tuned for a far more interesting post that involves calamity caused by cats.)

This Weekend

This weekend was mostly our marathon childbirth class. Saturday and Sunday.

It feels a bit like cramming for a test, since we are just about three weeks away from baby's official due date. We had the very earliest due date of any couple in the class, so every time the teacher mentioned something we should practice it was followed by a "...particularly you, Claire." I wanted to protest that I'd tried to get us into an earlier class, but they'd been all booked up!

Though meant to reduce anxiety through education, I think Jason and I both walked out of the first day's class a little horrified by the details.

But there's just one way out of this now. I told my friend it feels like standing on the top of a mountain and knowing that the only way down is to ski it, even though you're really afraid of skiing and know it could end up hurting... a lot. Fortunately the class videos also did a good job of conveying how crazy happy and exhilarated we'll be when baby arrives. Even better than hot chocolate at the lodge after skiing.

In other news, the contractor that I'd been stalking with weekly phone calls FINALLY called us to report he'd fixed the balcony screen door we'd given up for lost...and spent about $60 trying to replace ourselves with a off-the-shelf door from Home Depot. (See #2 from this post.) I was so mad that I honestly couldn't even look the contractor in the eye, and was very, very grateful to have Jason and his laid-back attitude handle it. The contractor was apparently apologetic. As much as I wanted to scold him for not returning phone calls, I think we resigned ourselves to just finishing this job and never calling him back again.

Sleep Tight Baby

One of the many various anxious thoughts that have crossed my mind thinking about baby's arrival is "where will he sleep?"

We are not without options, but they are all about halfway there: a crib without a mattress, a playard that's still in its box, and a moses basket whose transfer needs to be organized with a coworker who's getting rid of it.

I told Jason about my fears that there will be no place for baby to lay his head, and Jason replied, "We have cat beds. We can use one of those."

It seemed appropriate to find Where Children Sleep, a book by James Mollison that features children from around the world and where they sleep at night. Let's hope we won't be adding a cat bed in Chicago.

Be Happy

Trying to do self-coaching and get myself a little cheerier...which is hard to do when I go to bed and spend about two hours adjusting and re-adjusting pillows until I get a measure of comfort. Suffice to say I've watched more odd-hours CNN lately than ever before, which is likely just preparation for baby.

But I'm trying to think of the things that I can't resist.

Keyboard cat

This picture of penguins that I emailed Jason early in our online dating experience to show him what Antarctica had looked like. Jason asked, "So which penguin won the staring contest?"

There are a thousand more things to think about at 1,000 Awesome Things. I agree with hoods, drinking from the hose, and particularly, right now: "That moment just before you fall asleep when you know you’re about to fall asleep."

I'd also add the morning I woke up and momentarily forgot I was pregnant and thought my stomach was just my regular, non-watermelon stomach for a moment. That was nice. (By the way, do not google image search "watermelon stomach." Ick.)


When I was in high school I'd sometimes get in such a mood that I'd start listing the things that I hated on a piece of my looseleaf. It was a good way to pass the time in history class when we weren't being taught history because my peers were chattering and being rude. And the teacher was fighting a losing battle trying to get them to care. (I *loved* high school!)

Now I find myself in one of those grumpy moods. Reading this fellow blogger's list had me grinning in agreement. She's also pregnant so I could completely agree with items like "1. Baby boy clothes with lame writing on them like: "Mommy's New Man" or "Say Hello to Mr. Wonderful" or "Chicks Dig Me." Why are we now dressing our baby boys like ugly American tourists in brash slogan t-shirts?"

For my own list, I'd add:

1. People who board narrow corporate shuttle buses (my daily chariot from train station to office) from the front forward, leaving the pregnant lady to shimmy her way through the narrow aisle to the empty row of seats at the back. Board from the rear forward, people! Like an airplane.

2. A house that falls apart all at once. Curtain rods fall from the wall. Drains that back up. The contractor that took our sliding screen door to fix it six weeks ago and now isn't returning our phone calls. I feel like it's escalated to a hostage crisis, where I'm leaving messages pleading with him just to bring back the broken screen, no questions asked, so we can open our window again. All this falling apart and me all of 8 months pregnant where I know everyone will be mad at me if I try to climb a ladder and fix anything. The checkout girl at the supermarket already tsk-d tsk-d when I lifted a 12 pack of soda into the shopping cart.

3. Well-intended people who tell me not to do stuff, like the lady at the Walgreens who made me take a cart to the parking lot. Seriously, she wouldn't give me my bags until I grabbed a cart...despite the fact that'd I'd been happily shopping with a basket on my arm for a half hour. Taking the cart meant more work since I had to traverse the parking lot again to return it. It was hot. I was mad.

4. Being a widow to the words "software deployment" - a project that has kept Jason at work every night this week until after 8, after 10, and sometimes after midnight. I'm trying to be glad that the deployment itself isn't the weekend where our marathon childbirth class is scheduled. I'm trying to be patient, but confess that sometimes I want to call his bosses and tell them to send Jason home, because I am downstairs with a tummy ache and the TUMS is upstairs. I need him to bring it to me, please.

5. Weight gain. Hate it.

6. Heat that makes me want a nap after just an hour of errands.

7. The ironic part: feeling grumpy makes me grumpy. 8. That there is an entire week between new episodes of Project Runway.

9. Salad is less appetizing than ice cream. I should eat more salad, less Stephen Colbert Americone Dream.

10. Not being able to discern who's telling the truth between the ladies at work who say, "Aw, you're just one of those cute pregnant ladies!" and the guy co-worker who says, "Yeah, you look uncomfortable and...swollen" while gesturing to his face.

11. SPCA commercials that make me want to cry and run out and adopt every single animal at the shelter.

Finishing Touches

Yes, there are still some glaring omissions from the nursery, besides just the baby.
Like, a mattress.
Like that the crib is still at the wrong level even if we had a mattress.

I am considering the best way to make a trip to Babies R' Us sound like something a husband wants to do on a weekend. My best hope is the hot dog and milk shake place across the street.

In the meantime there are a few, smaller finishing touches to share.

Biplanes! (See, this is a boy's room!)Wall decals from etsy. They are grey with white clouds for a subtle touch of decoration, but one that's also a little hard to photograph.

This little guy is going off radar, lost in a daydream.Helping to pull together the room's colors is a handmade quilt from Juliet. Really sweet. Snuggly monkey from Amanda & Jough! Piper points out that she matches the room quite nicely too, with her orange fur.

Shower Front Moving East

It was a road trip this weekend for me, Jason, and the baby in my belly. Through Indiana (and this wind farm) to Ohio. We learned by observation (and Google confirmation) that corn and soybeans are Indiana's primary crops. Also, there's a swath of states running east to west that claim the cardinal as their state bird: Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

But that is truly trivial, as our primary purpose was to head towards the extravaganza of adorable that was Baby Shower Ohio, hosted by mother-in-law and "cruise director," Nancy.

Jason's family may have a future business in party planning as all hands were on deck to pull together the many thoughtful details of this party. (I knew this for sure when brother-in-law Lorenzo gave me tips on how the diaper cake had been put together.)

Giraffes, polka dots, grey stripes, and yellow and orange were the festive theme, apparent on the invitation, tables, decorations and party favors. Lemonade and fizzy clementine soda kept guests hydrated for the games, and me for opening the mountain of generous gifts. I feel far more prepared for baby after these two weekends.A thoughtfully set table with flowers in my favorite colors, bright oranges, green and yellows. Tissue paper napkin rings later made a lovely wrist corsage. Note that even the serving dishes and hand towels were on theme, in orange polka dots. I am still thinking about the sweet and delicious cake pops. Yum. Yum. Yum. Delicate and pretty cookies, atop a hand-sewn tablecloth by sister-in-law and event seamstress, Courtney. Guests left with gift bags filled with personalized M&Ms, frosted Cheryl's cookies (a signature Columbus treat) and other goodies. If you are interested in replicating this shower, I'm told you can start with Dimple Prints, via etsy. But you'd have to ask Jason's family if they are for hire for the full event hoopla. Thank you Nancy, Courtney, Lorenzo, Dennis, Mary Beth...and anyone else whose able and/or idle hands were likely drafted into service for the party preparations. It was a very lovely shower.

Stay tuned for further baby updates which may primarily involve my starting to assemble the many new pieces of furniture that babies require. (And that friends and family have generously given us!)

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