Wednesday, April 30, 2014

the new arrival

We have a new arrival!

No, it's not the {overdue} baby yet.

It's still pretty exciting, though.

Remember this post, which featured photographic evidence of our decrepit, rusted dishwasher?  Well, as you can see, the old thing was in pretty bad shape.  She came with the house when we bought it, already rusted and broken, and things only got progressively worse over the years we've lived here.  It barely felt worth it to run a load of dishes, since we could only fit four or five plates in there on the bottom and a few glasses safely on the top rack.

Well, a week or two ago Nell and I were doing yard work in the front yard when our new neighbor from down the street came by and mentioned they were replacing all their appliances and would sell them at a good price if we were looking for anything.

Naturally, I asked, "Is there by any chance a dishwasher?"

Yes, there was!  A white one, being replaced by a stainless one.  White sounded good to me, as long as there wasn't rust involved.

Nathan went to check it out, and bought it with cash on the spot, at half of what it would have cost us to order racks to replace the ones in the dishwasher we had.  It's not the newest dishwasher, but it's in great condition and we're irrationally excited about it.

I mean, look how many dishes you can fit in there!  And you don't even have to lift and finagle and tug and yank at the racks to get them to slide out nicely!

A kitchen miracle, I say.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

a quilt for the big sister

I posted before about my first attempt at a quilt -- a crib / toddler bed-sized quilt for the new baby girl.

Well, while the project had its share of difficulties, I enjoyed the process and decided to make a second quilt, this one for the big-sister-to-be!  I think it'll be nice to give Nell something new of her own when the baby arrives.  She is so great about sleeping in her own bed now (I should write about how we transitioned from a co-sleeping situation into her crib... it went weirdly, unexpectedly well overall) and is at an age where she loves her blankets and stuffed animals and baby doll.  I think she will really appreciate and enjoy having a new quilt of her own.

Not surprisingly, Nell's quilt came together more quickly and easily than the baby quilt, since it was my second time following the same tutorial and essentially sewing the same quilt.  The only thing I did differently with Nell's quilt was to use just one main fabric, rather than two different ones, along with the four more neutral print coordinating fabrics.

The fabrics I picked for Nell's quilt are a little less vibrant than the baby quilt fabrics, but I still find them cheery and sweet, and I really fell in love with the bird print fabric when I saw it at Jo-Ann's.

I can definitely imagine myself wanting to take on more quilting projects in the future... but I guess you'll have to ask me if I still think that in a couple of weeks when I have a newborn in my arms.

Two quilts completed and ready for two little girls... now we just need the second little girl to decide to make her appearance!

40 weeks

Sunday marked this baby's due date, but she still seems comfy where she is for now.

Nell was a little unhappy that her little sister hasn't arrived yet...

...orrrrr it was just that time of afternoon when toddlers tend to fall apart and have meltdowns over every.little.thing.

Dear little one, 
I was talking to a friend on the phone last night about a strange phenomenon of late pregnancy: starting around 37 weeks, I felt certain that you could arrive any day!  But now, at 40 weeks, I'm pretty sure you'll never come and I'll be pregnant forever.  My friend totally agreed with this sentiment, so perhaps it is a somewhat universal experience.   
A couple of evenings ago, your Dad and I looked back at photos of Nell when she was a baby and reminisced about those early days of infancy.  I feel pretty lucky that we get to do it all again soon!  Well, maybe not ALL of it is peaches and cream, but the good parts sure make it worth it. 
Did you know that you have a cousin who shared your due date?  She has already arrived, so... anytime you're ready, kiddo!  You have a Mama and Daddy who can hardly wait to hold you, and a big sister who loves babies.  She has been to almost all my prenatal appointments with me and always loves hearing your heartbeat, pointing to my belly and saying, "Baaaabyyyy!" 
We still don't have a name for you, but please don't let that stop you from making an appearance whenever you're ready. 

Friday, April 25, 2014


After a stressful morning of church music duties for Nathan and a stressful morning of 'single-parenting' it in church for me, we enjoyed a nice Easter afternoon at home with a few friends.

Little Miss Source-Of-All-Stress was cute as could be in the same dress she wore last May for her birthday party -- altered back then to fit her, and let out to still fit her now.  Yay for a sweet little dress that pulls double duty!

Nathan has a habit of jiggling Nell around in photos to try to get her to smile.  What he may or may not realize is that this tactic results in off-center photos like this one:

Nathan did most of the day's photographer duties, since at 39 weeks pregnant I wasn't feeling like doing much crouching and bending.  In fact, I wasn't feeling like doing much of anything, but I managed to make rolls, green bean casserole, roasted asparagus, and a pound cake -- and was very grateful to the friends who brought the rest of the Easter dinner foods to share!

Before we ate, Nell and her little buddy Ian got to have an egg hunt, largely planned by Nell's godmother (and Ian's mum), Cara.  She did a lovely job including things the kids could enjoy, like stickers and even a little book for each of them once their Dads helped them piece together the Bible verses hidden in some of their eggs.

This girl has sure grown a lot since last Easter!

{And incidentally, it would appear that I have, too.}

I just LOVE the picture below, because as Nell is reaching for the egg on the bench, you can see that Ian's been caught red-handed in the background, trying to snatch one of Nell's eggs right out of her basket!  Hahaha!

Nell received some little gifts from her Grandma C. and Grandpa S., too. and has been quite entertained by her little wind-up walking duck ever since!  She brings it to me and declares, "Duck!  Walk!" and squeals with glee when I wind it up for her.

After the egg hunt, we sat down to a table nicely set by my dear husband, ate probably altogether too much good food, and celebrated the Resurrection, the end of Lent, and the end of a crazy season in Nathan's life as a church musician.

And my house still has fresh flowers in it, which makes me about as happy as a very pregnant woman can be expected to be, I think.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

39 weeks

Well, Grace from Camp Patton (a really fun blog if you don't already read) had her baby, due a little later than mine as I recall, and now I am just plain jealous.  I'm tired of being pregnant, but also, I want to hold this little baby already!  I want newborn snuggles in my life again!

Easter Sunday marked 39 weeks, and obviously Nathan's prayers were answered and he made it through Holy Week without any complicating factors like oh, labor and a new baby happening.

Now that Easter is behind us, and I'm practically on maternity leave from teaching (just teaching a few individually arranged violin lessons here and there), I'm taking an afternoon nap with Nell every single day and just kind of twiddling my thumbs until this baby arrives.

Sure, I could be (should be) cleaning the house and making more meals for the freezer, but somehow I keep finding myself sleeping, instead.

I keep trying to remind myself that it could be another two or three weeks before this babe arrives, and not to get my hopes up, but I'm not really listening to myself.  I'm hoping it'll be any day now.

Dear little one, 
Your Dad has been on April vacation from his school teaching job this week, so really, it would have been a pretty good time for you to come.  However, the week is rapidly coming to a close, and you're still snug inside, so you must have other plans of your own.   
Earlier this week a friend took me out to dinner, and I ordered a burrito with the restaurant's hottest habanero sauce to try to see if the rumors about spicy food inducing labor were true.  No such luck! 
Come out and see us soon, kiddo.  And when you do decide to make your appearance, try to be a little quicker about the whole ordeal than your big sister was, okay? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

38 weeks

38 weeks this past Sunday, and technically 'full term.'

I've decided that there is probably nothing in the world to make a person feel the length of four weeks time quite like the difference between 38 weeks and 42 weeks in pregnancy.

Nathan and I have been praying at odds with one another this week; as a church organist, he thinks that Holy Week would not make for a particularly good time for this baby to come since he is so busy, but as a very pregnant mama, I think the sooner the better.

{Also, if the baby were to be born in the next 24 hours, it might not be too late to have her baptized at the Easter Vigil, which would be epic!  Of course, that would sort of require us to have decided on a name, wouldn't it...?  Hmm.}

The SPD pain is back with a vengeance, and I'm lumbering around like a wounded elephant these days.  Yes, it's just like everyone says... the final days of pregnancy are so uncomfortable that they make you stop dreading labor and start anxiously awaiting it!

Dear little one, 
In the past week, I've washed all our newborn and 0-3 baby clothes and been organizing them all up in the nursery.  It's getting a little crowded in there, what with Nell's clothes and now yours, too, but we'll manage!  Those newborn onesies are so, so tiny... it's hard to believe Nell wore them not so very long ago, and that you'll be here soon to put them to use once more.   
I've got our bags mostly packed for the trip to the birth center when the time comes, and I've finished your baby quilt and Nell's big sister quilt.  So, while the house is still in need of some serious spring cleaning, and there is always more to do around here, I can't help feeling that the real necessities have been taken care of, and you can make your grand arrival pretty much whenever you're ready!  Dad asks that you please avoid Easter Sunday morning, though, okay? 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I'm joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for another {pretty happy funny real} post today.


After my violin studio recital this past weekend, one of my students gave me possibly the sweetest, most charming little bouquets I've ever received.  

I also have tulips on the dining room table, daffodils on my kitchen windowsill, and roses on my bedroom dresser, all thanks to my students.  I love having flowers in the house -- and right now, it helps to slightly offset the general feeling of despair at the fact that it snowed again earlier this week.  This has truly felt like 'The Long Winter' here in Massachusetts!


Another recital perk: a lovely gift bag from my students, with a card signed collectively and filled with sweet sentiments.  A mother of a student of mine was behind planning this, and filled a bag with such thoughtful and enjoyable gifts, from cookies and caramels to candles and linens and a scarf and more.  I felt thoroughly spoiled as I went through it the next day {after recovering from recital exhaustion}.  It's so very nice to have treats like this every once in a while!


After finishing the quilt for the baby (arriving any day now, and I must admit, I hope for sooner rather than later), I got to work on a similar quilt for Nell.  It seemed like a big sister deserved something to commemorate the occasion, and since she now sleeps in her own crib and loves to have blankets, stuffed animals, and her baby doll surrounding her, I think she's actually at an age to really enjoy the comfort of a special quilt.

In any case, I'll have to post some better pictures of the finished quilt soon, but the 'funny' part is that every time over the past few weeks I would say to Nell, "I'm sewing!" she would reply, "Brrrrrr!!!"

Sewing... snowing...

Words can be a little confusing when you're not yet two years old.


Three bags sit beside my dresser now, one packed for myself, one 'overnight' bag for Nell, and one with things for the new baby.

Yes, seeing them there certainly makes her impending arrival feel very real!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

37 weeks

From last Sunday:

Nathan said to me the other day, "When I'm looking at you straight on, you look pretty normal.  Then I see you from the side and I remember that you're enormous."

Thanks, honey.

Dear little one, 
Your Dad and I still haven't been able to agree on a name for you, and realizing that we could be anywhere from a few weeks to just days away from meeting you (you never know with babies!) has made me start to feel a little concerned about this fact.  I hope we can come to some sort of agreement soon!   
I've taken to asking Nell, "What should we name the baby?" and her latest replies include, "Baby Doodoo," and "Baby Yoyo."  Fortunately for you, we're not giving her vote in the matter too much importance at this point. 
Maybe when you arrive and we see your sweet little face we'll just know immediately what your name should be.  That would be nice! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

a quilt for baby

About a month ago, I came across a Basic Baby Quilt Tutorial from the blog Thirty Handmade Days.  I had never made a quilt before, but I was suddenly quite attached to the idea of making a quilt for this baby girl we're expecting.  So, off to Jo-Ann's I went, list in hand, to get the things I needed.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when it came to choosing fabrics!  I probably spent almost two hours there, plying Nell with snacks while deliberating over the fabric choices.

I love what I ended up with, though!  And this basic striped quilt is definitely manageable for a beginner to make.  I'm glad I didn't start with anything more difficult, because even this had plenty of stress-inducing moments. 

I'm envisioning baby girl using it as a play mat to lie on and roll around on as she grows, and then as a quilt for her crib and eventually her toddler bed.  (The quilt is about 40" by 54", a good sized quilt for a little one's bed.)

Every time I look at this cheery quilt, it brings a smile to my face.  Sure, if you look closely you'll see a few places where I didn't feed the weight of the quilt evenly, and my stitch length got a bit uneven as a result.  But all those spots I was agonizing over as I sewed really don't matter that much when I look at the big picture now that it's finished.  So, it's imperfect -- hey, it's my first attempt at a quilt!  I think our baby girl will enjoy lots of play time on and snuggles in this quilt, regardless of the evenness of the stitching.

And she will know her mama loved making it for her, ironing and cutting and piecing and quilting all while daydreaming about the little baby who would call this quilt her own.

Now that baby's quilt is finished, I'm working on a second quilt - for Nell, the soon-to-be big sister!  I decided it would be nice to present her with something new of her own when the baby arrives.  I'm following the same tutorial / pattern, but using different fabrics for Nell's quilt.  Hopefully I'll have photos of that quilt to share soon!

Friday, April 4, 2014

of walks and rocks

The weather is finally, finally, FINALLY beginning to warm up, and our walks are gradually going from looking like this:

To this...

To this!

{Only sweaters or light jackets needed!  At last!}

Earlier this week Nell noticed her shadow on one of our walks, a discovery that was met with much enthusiasm.  

{I was wearing a puffer vest ... yes, I may be pregnant, but I am not quite that thick and wide yet!}

That same day, Nell picked up a little stone and showed it to me, and I said, "That's a rock."

She looked up at me, said, "Baby!", and cradled the rock in the crook of her elbow.

I was mystified for a moment, and replied, "Are you pretending the rock is a baby?"

And then I realized what she was thinking:  Rock.  Rock a baby.  Rock a baby in your arms.

Ahh, the confusion of the English language strikes again!

I do love that little girl.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

36 weeks

From the beginning of this week:

I feel like I've doubled in size in the past week or two, and it's hard to believe this baby will keep gaining about a half a pound a week until she decides to make her grand appearance.  I just keep reminding myself to try not to waddle when I walk!

This big-sister-to-be happens to also be my favorite hair dresser of late.  The results may be questionable, but the enthusiasm and kisses that accompany each hair "appointment" are incomparable.

Dear little one, 
Last week you heard lots of music, and spent lots of time driving back and forth to Plymouth with me for rehearsals and a concert.  I could feel you wriggling around lots during the music -- you especially seemed to like Bernstein and Copland! 
You're 'due' to arrive within a month, so I guess I'd better start packing my bags already!  Packing things for myself seems a little tedious, but I'm excited to drag our bin of newborn clothes up from the basement, wash everything freshly, and choose what things to pack for YOU.