Sunday, January 30, 2011

Repeating Rectangles

I had found the material at the local fabric and craft store this summer but it wasn't until just before my in-laws came for a visit last month that I finally got around to making two curtains for my bathroom. I didn't want to spend a huge amount of time on them nor did I want them to block out light so I simply measured them and hung them as 'tapestries' to add a little pattern to our bathroom.I have previously finished curtains for three other rooms in our house and the bathroom made the fourth. Completely bored of sewing the same thing over and over, I made plans to move onto room number 5. Sweet One's current room is too small for two kids and so I need to move her into "The Studio" (a room I had hoped would be where I taught some voice lessons was not to be) so that there would be enough space for them. Luckily, I found a great deal online for the curtain's material as well as blackout lining. Unfortunately, since the biggest function of curtains in our house is to block out sunlight and drafts, it had to be more boring rectangles. I only needed four panels in this room so it felt less daunting than the 6 in the other two bedrooms.
They went pretty quickly and I think the end result is fun for a kid's room but these curtains didn't leave me any more inspired to move on to the last room of the house. I found this material at the same time as Sweet One's and couldn't have been happier to pay approximately $70 for the heavier weight home decor material. I love a bargain and it is quite a steal to be able to get two rooms adorned in rectangles for that cheap. Especially because one has the blackout lining.
I did work a little bit 'inside the rectangle' by making the valances a slightly different shape. Having to think a little bit more about these was nice but three hours later and how many yards of folding and ironing and pining and then finally sewing to put it all together ... well, it still felt like a freakin' rectangle. There is one more valance over the sink which I hung with a pressurized rod so I didn't have to put up hardware in a place that would have been awkward. And so, after what felt like a full month of sewing rectangles I moved onto a new project: rectangles made of flannel!
Yup. Exciting! I was not really impressed with the material that the Pack'NPlay sheets were made of and so I decided that I'd make some out of flannel for the baby. It didn't seem all that difficult, and of course the second won't, but it is ridiculously hard to squarely get a rectangle cut! Sweet One slept in the bassinet part of the P'nP for almost 7 months and I figure the new baby will as well. (Sweet One can tell her therapist that she had crunchy sheets while her sibling had cozy soft ones!) It was nice to be making something for him/her but I'm a little desperate for a sewing project that feels creative and fun. There are probably next to no corners in a pair of training pants! (Sweet is too little for the commercial ones as they all start at 25 or 26 pounds.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Three moments of Sweet One's cuteness

We bought Sweet One the "Snacktime" album by the Barenaked Ladies. Her favorite track seems to be "Popcorn". It is about a minute long and she insists on listening to it over and over. She runs around in circles, clapping and making sure that Big Love is clapping along with her and that he is also running on the spot. "More Clap. More Feet." Then when the song is done she'll open the cabinet to the DVD player so that we can skip back to the beginning of the track!

She's really starting to enjoy music more these days. While watching her shows she will get up and dance when the music helps her get her groove on. Right before Christmas when I started listening to Kristen Chenoweth's and Sarah MacLaughlan's Christmas albums, she'd ask for more each time there was a pause between tracks. Now she asks for "more music" when we're in the car, smiles as soon as it starts and sings along when she wants. She almost always sings along when Kristen Chenoweth sings her high notes on the third volume of the Glee soundtracks!

I think this little girl likes tv as much as her Mama. If we tell her that she can't watch another one of her shows, she will ask for news. News is anything that we watch. She caught the last few minutes of the final episode of United States of Tara Season 2 today. Because she was quite sleepy from a nap that was much too short, she threw a fit when I told her 'news' was all done. She didn't realize that up next was going to be Elmo's Potty Time.

Despite my ineptness of describing just how cute these moments are, I'm sure they're better than listening to me complain about my sore back, potty training challenges and a lack of sleep!

And I forgot to mention that at all times while dancing to popcorn, Sweet One must have a bottle of eye glass cleaner in her hand. One blue, one purple.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Potty Talk

As an INFP on the Myers Briggs test, one of the biggest challenges I face is the ideals I set for myself (and probably those around me) and how I feel if they are not met. I crumble... and then I flounder trying to get my feet back underneath myself as reality sets in.

The one that is kicking my ass right now is potty training. This little girl of mine is fully aware of what is coming out of her butt. Since she calls everything toot I've been trying to get her to accurately describe what she is feeling. "Toot, fart, toot, fart" are two words that we hear a lot now and my love of potty humor laughs at it every time! What gets me is that this afternoon she spent 4 hours without a diaper on and no accidents. At about 3 hours 45 minutes she started getting worried because it was absolutely clear to both of us she had to pee but refused to try her potty. Quite honestly, I wouldn't even care if she started going on the carpet so that I could just quickly move her to the potty. An hour earlier she had sat on it, bare-assed, for almost half an hour while I read her books. But not when she actually had to pee. I don't really get it.

Years ago my mother mentioned how I pretty much potty trained myself in 2 days by the age of 2 because I hated having the pee run down my leg. When my mother-in-law was here she told us that Big Love started training at 15 months and was fully trained by 20 months (in her "I was a perfect mother" voice, as titled by Big Love). My sister had both of her kids pretty much trained by 2 years old. I'm only starting at 2 years and after only a few weeks of mild attempts to train (her recent stomach illnesses were not going to help matters) I'm already feeling like I'm failing to get her trained quickly enough.

And so I need to find some patience for myself and the process. I've been miserable since I put the diaper back on her at 6:00 and she peed immediately. I had just really hoped this would go smoothly and be done before the baby is born.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet One!

Oh my Sweet One,

Today you are two and there moments when I can hardly believe it. Right now I am listening to you scream on and off because in the past few days a switch has been flipped. We've been having troubles with your sleeping again for the past few months and while you are now sleeping better through the night you have decided that it is necessary to scream at the top of your lungs to try your hardest not to fall asleep. (The experts call this sleep resistance and I call it hell.) You do not want to go to sleep on your own anymore even though only a few weeks ago you did it perfectly, sometimes asking to go to sleep early because you were so tired. When we are going through a rough patch like this I find that it completely defines the days.

You have stopped screaming! I think it is because last night you screamed for so long and then woke up quite early. You were very tired but didn't nap for very long in the afternoon. After your nap, Daddy took you to the grocery store and you got to pick out a balloon. I would have taken you but I wanted your Daddy to be able to see just how excited you get when you pick out a balloon. He told me that just as he was about to pay for it, the man behind you in line beat him to it. Can you imagine that? A complete stranger bought you your birthday balloon! It was of the Backyardigans (some of your favorite characters).

After you got home we got a few more things ready and then some people came over to celebrate your birthday with you. Two of your friends from across the street came and played with you. Unfortunately, the middle boy couldn't come because he is sick and his mama didn't want you to get sick. Your surrogate great-grandma came too! We live so far from our own family that it is nice these people love you so much. You ate the purple icing off of your cupcake and then asked for some water. Maybe you don't like things that are too sweet. You licked two cheese puffs and then left them on the floor and I thought that was funny. When we had pizza you ate your piece so fast because of all the playing you did.

I was very happy that you liked your Retro Red Radio Flyer tricycle and yellow helmet right from the start. Sometimes I worry that the things we get for you are not good enough or that you will not like them. So far, you have shown me that you are happy with what you have.

Lately, because your sleeping has been so troublesome, I have not felt like I'm a good mama to you. I've been tired, too, because your sister or brother growing in my tummy takes a lot of my energy and then I don't have enough patience. Your Daddy tells me I am doing a good job and I can only hope that I am able to show you how much I love you. You show me that you love me by giving me big hugs and wonderful kisses. I promise that I will always do my best to treat you with respect and love; when I am not being a good mama, I will do my best to tell you how sorry I am and do better next time. (It is amazing how quickly you can forgive me when I get mad but I beat myself up for days!)

I hope that as you grow you will receive many more acts of random kindness as you did today and perhaps you will brighten someone else's day by doing the same. My greatest wish for you has always been and always will be that you are courageous in who you are and that you find your way to step confidently in this world.

I love you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A fasting test took longer than expected

The sun is shining brilliantly. In all honestly, I can survive the frigid cold temperatures I grew up with in Northwestern Canada but I struggle with the mild, overcast winters that we have here. As long as there is sun I feel like I can deal with anything!

Sweet One is hopefully still napping, although I do hear some noise starting from movement, and Big Love is passed out on the couch. I had my nap but put an alarm on so I don't sleep too long otherwise I won't fall asleep at night.

Big Love had a bit of a long morning with Sweet One because I had to go and get the longer glucose tolerance test. With fasting the night before, I had to be at the hospital and registered just before 730! Quite a feat when I consider the fact that I am rarely out of bed by 8 or 830 from my interrupted night hours. Luckily, Sweet One never woke up enough for me to have to get out of bed (yay!) last night and so at 615 she and I got up. Big Love tried to sleep longer but he couldn't because he is just too used to getting up with her these days.

The test was a little brutal. My numbers weren't where they needed to be at the beginning so they had to do another step before I could even have the lovely orange drink which added an hour to the whole process bringing the total to 4 hours in a little lab in the basement of a hospital. I was somewhat shaky as I sat there and ate my snack after it was all done and chugged back some water. Making my way from the basement to the doors was a little strange because I felt like I was trying to wake up but couldn't fully. I arrived in the morning while it was still dark and was happy to see that the sun was shining.

I think we're going to go for a mini-vacation and do some errands in the neighboring city just north of us. A few really simple things we need but unfortunately cannot get here in this town.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010: A recap

I started this questionnaire this morning after reading it at All & Sundry and also OneNJen earlier in the week. I didn't think I'd actually do it because I thought I had crappy, boring answers for most of them - a signe of my daily struggle to find meaning in the small things that I do each day. I changed my mind because I thought that while the past few months have been more difficult than the rest of the year, it might give me a different perspective on the year and maybe even an idea of what I want to focus on in 2011.

My biggest fear for 2011 is that I am not going to succeed as a mother of two. With even less sleep ahead, I have little confidence in my abilities to find a balance of time for each child being able to manage my emotions when I am stressed and overtired. I hope that I will be able to surprise myself daily; to be more gracious and understanding of myself and others is a goal.

So, farewell to 2010. Hello to 2011. I'm a little surprised that it is here but I am hopeful that I will be a better person and that the light at the end of the tunnel might show itself enough to give me the courage to keep going.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Went to New Orleans.
2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more next year?
I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions. I seem to make resolutions for myself as the need comes up throughout the year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not close to me, but a cousin of mine was killed in a car accident. I didn't know her much at all but still experienced a sense of loss.
5. What countries did you visit?
Went to Canada.
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More patience for my daughter and my husband, especially when I'm tired. More sleep but I know that isn't going to happen!
7. What dates in 2010 will become etched in your memory and why?
I am truly having a difficult time to come up with any of that.
8. What was your biggest achievement of 2010?
This is a difficult question for me because I do not feel like I have achievements. While I truly believe that being a SAHM right now is where I need to be and would not want my wee ones being raised in a daycare, it is still hard for me to identify measurable achievements on a personal level. I never imagined that I'd be a homemaker without some prospects for a personal career, even in terms of just a few voice students, on the horizon. I struggle with this daily.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Screaming at my daughter the other day when things were difficult. I find that when my main purpose in life is to be a stay at home mom right now, there isn't much else for me to screw up. Not sure if that is good or bad.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing other than a sinus virus and the physical strain on my muscles from being pregnant the second time.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our 2010 Rav4. Now my husband can drive with more confidence (he and a standard do not get along), it's easier to get Sweet One in and out of the vehicle and there is much more room for stowage. And it is brilliant in the snow that we get when a lake effect system comes through the area.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and paying back the money the in-laws loaned us so that we could put a full 10% down on the house and avoid the mortgage insurance. We are quite happy that the in-laws are paid off both because it felt good to get that taken care of and also because we needed that money freed up so that we could buy the new vehicle.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Going to Montreal to visit my friend, having my friend come to visit me, getting pregnant again. Again, this is a situation where my first reaction is to say that I don't get excited about things. I do get very excited about things with Sweet One, like when she had a most amazing time watching the hot air balloons (more than a dozen of them) taking off at an annual event here. I'm also very excited when she reaches milestones.
14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I am absolutely blanking out when it comes to naming just one specific song. Funny how if I hear a song from some point in my past, I can almost remember exactly where I was each time I listened to it!
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- happier or sadder? neither. Things feel more challenging physically and emotionally for me but I am not necessarily 'sadder'.
- thinner or fatter? well, I'm about to enter my third trimester and my boobs are competing with my ass to see which can get their own zip code first while my belly pulls at absolutely every muscle in my back!
- richer or poorer? about the same on a monthly basis but knowing that the mortgage is getting paid down gradually does help us feel like we're getting somewhere.
16. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Found daily adventures.
17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
18. How did you spend Christmas?
With my little family for most of the day and with friends/surrogate family for brunch.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
I'm a tv addict and probably enjoy watching much more than I should. Usually a question like this is very difficult but I can say without a doubt that Parenthood popped into my head the moment I read this question.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
I used to listen to music all the time, it was a occupational hazard, but I have really stopped listening as much. I'm trying to put music on more, especially since Sweet One really enjoys it, and have been enjoying James Taylor, Glee soundtrack, Sarah MacLaughlan, Jason Mraz and Sara Bareilles.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Inception. We watched it last night with On Demand and it was totally worth the $4. I've watched a lot of movies this year but can't think of any more at this point.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We went up to our friends/surrogate family's house for dinner. Nothing else of note is popping into my head. 32.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Finding something that gave me a sense of personal fulfillment outside of being a mom.
25. How would you describe your fashion concept in 2010?
Is it dirty? Does it fit somewhat? Despite my completely frustration with my post-partum wardrobe, there was no point in trying to do anything about it because of plans to get pregnant again.
26. What kept you sane?
Going to the movies by myself once in awhile. Making a new friend a few doors down who has three boys and Sweet One loves playing with them!
27. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2010.
For most of my life, all of my friendships were made in school. This made it very easy for them to be based upon similarities that were right there in front of us; we didn't have to spend a huge amount of time getting to know one another because things just seemed to 'click'. I have not met anyone where everything has just clicked into place and I feel like I can be myself 100%. However, I am learning that friendships can grow and be valuable even if everything doesn't just pop into place. To be able to appreciate people and what I can learn from them because of how they see things differently than me is something I found hard to do. This has enabled me to becomes friends with the woman down the street and her friendship is turning into a very important one to me. I have learned new things about building friendships over the past four months that have helped me grow up a bit.