November 26, 2011


I am almost done with my holiday shopping and didn't leave my house to fight off crazy people like that pepper spray lady in California. I have been scouring the web and the TGIBF app on my phone to scope out the best deals for the dozen or so on my list.

My sister-in-law was over last weekend and helped me put our tree up ahead of schedule. I even finished our holiday cards. I am setting holiday-to-do-list records all over the place!
I was missing one address- Husband's grandmother, the last one he has left. She moved into assisted living care a few months ago and I didn't have her new address. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving MIL texted it to us. G-ma always looked forward to cards, especially now that we had super cute Baby B photos to send.

Our cards were stuffed, stacked, and stamped ready for deployment around the US and a few across the ocean.
With our final card addressed, I was feeling pretty good about our 2011 holiday preparedness. I went about my sweet potato making and turkey cookie assembling on the eve of Thanksgiving.

We had BIG plans for Turkey Day. Husband's family (myself included) thought starting a new tradition this year involving physical fitness would be a good way to earn the meal that we had worked so hard to prepare. Typically Husband's family went to aee a spy movie. Every. Year.

The local Lion's Club hosts an organized 5k Turkey Trot and entire families participate. We are not those people. As to not embarrass ourselves, we plotted our own route. Or shall I say Husband's Brother-in-Law took the initiative to plot what he called, "a relatively flat" route. It is important to note that of the six of us running our fake five k, he is the only one who didn't grow up within a mile of this route. He happened to include one of the steepest inclines in our entire town. So the moaning and groaning aside, we got moving. I may may have made it five or six blocks before a my pride gave way to something much worse, my asthma plus the last ten lbs of baby weight that I probably can't call baby weight since I have a TODDLER! I digress.

I returned to the starting MIL's house where we'd left Baby B for the run. I was disappointed in my sad performance, but as my MIL pointed out, there's always next year. A new family tradition was born.

After the rest of the family retuned and bonded over aches pains and that stupid hill! We went our separate ways for a few hours of cooking, football and turkey making.

Husband is a tradition junkie. His buddies get together and play football. Apparently there are touchdowns and tantrums. Every. Year.

He retuned home and was busily chattering about the game and mentioned that his sister wanted us to spend family time together before other guests arrived. I was roasting my fifth batch of potatoes, thinking about drying my hair, and dressing Baby B (who had just woken up from a nap with CRAZY hair).

With the potatoes done, cookies packed, hair still wet and baby dressed, we loaded the car and headed to MIL's house. We didn't make it there in time for family time. We were welcomed by the savory smell of turkey and hugs from family. Odd since I'd seen everyone just a few hours before. Then Husband pulled me aside and told me something that made the hugs make sense.

His grandmother had died a few hours ago. While I was potato roasting and Baby was napping and Husband was football playing. And, as it turned out, she was dying. At first I didn't think I heard him correctly. She was in pain and it was her time. I wish it had been more peaceful or that she had been given something for the pain. She was a few days away from hospice care and the pain management meds that come with the end of life. I had only met her a few times. Once while Husband and I were just dating and earlier this year to introduce Baby B.

The next day I was ready to mail out our cards. G-ma's card was on top since her's was the last missing address on our list. I put it on our desk not sure if I should throw it out, recycle it or mail it anyway. It is still sitting there in mourning. Like a little reminder of our relationship with her.

November 23, 2011

Turkey Cookies!

Blind turkeys make for better confectionery treats...
that way they don't have to witness their impending fate.
Recent traditions dictate that my Thanksgiving responsibilities consist of the following:

Purchasing bread rolls and warming them up.

This year, I decided to go all Martha-Stewart-meets-Modern-Girl and add to my list by volunteering to make sweet potatoes, veggie dip and Turkey Cookies (really it's about assembling them). I will say it took the better part of two hours to crank out 13 of these bad boys and I didn't even give them eyes!

I was inspired by this post on Tammy Mitchell Photography via CraftGawker (my latest addiction).

I followed her directions. Mostly.

1 bag of candy corn (after I picked up 3 bags of on super sale after Halloween!)
1 package double stuff Oreos
1 box of Whoppers malted chocolate balls
1 bag of Reese's PB cups
1 package (although you only *need* 6-7 discs) of Wilton's Orange Candy Melts

I melted the discs per package instructions and proceeded to use it like glue...on the back of the PB cup, the bottom and front of Whopper and under the whole contraption to help it stick to the Oreo base. I used my little brush to 'paint' on the feet...most of them were lucky to have two pronged feet.

Since they're for the kids' table, I'm hoping their imperfections will go unnoticed. Although I suppose children are often the harshest critics. Good thing this was just for fun!

UPDATE - They were a hit! Not a single turkey was left on the plate and the sea of peanut butter w/ caramel kiss cookies were all gone, too! I can't say the same about the potatoes.  While they turned out well. I think I'll stick to desserts for next year.

November 15, 2011

Why Does Fall Have to be so Blah?

I get that leaves are falling, my plants are shriveling up, and the sun even sets earlier making way for winter. Fall in Illinois, like Spring, seems to last a even shorter than Kim Kardashian's marriage. A few good weekends to visit a pumpkin farm, tailgate or squeeze in a family photo shoot.

Inevitably it is a time to change up fabrics in my house- throws, blankets, drapes, etc. Then onto the little stuff- candles, scented stuff, flowers and wreaths. I am slowly building a collection of my style on our front door. At Easter I put out a store bought wreath of speckled eggs on some kind of woody twine. I sport an Americana countryish tin star on a tightly woven base for most of the summer. Halloween is time to put out a witches broom hanging from a sign. Now it is November and I had an empty door. It is too soon for winter pomegranate and magnolia leaves, so what's a girl to do?

Make something, of course! I scoured the web for inspiration and came across yarn and felt wreaths. Since I wasn't about to go out in the cold, I worked with what I had left over from baby projects that never came to fruition...the fabric bday banner or mini plush favors, and the Halloween wreath I was going to make until I found the broomstick on on super sale!

I digress. I used one ball of yarn and maybe a foot if felt. I plan to add more flowers, but who knows when that will be. In the meantime, enjoy!
I'm still getting used to the new camera.
Close up of the flower detail.

September 19, 2011

Easy Peasey DIY Guest Book

This year Husband and I have been invited to a ton of weddings. Three on the same day, in fact.  It was a little crazy and we have one more to go. The wedding we most recently attended was of Baby B's Godmother and my dear friend, Cadiz.

I had the honor of NOT being a bridesmaid. Yes, you read that correctly. I was honored to not have to be part of the formal hoopla leaving me free to do the things I find fun. Namely organizing, crafting, consulting, Bollywood-dancing (I'm talking a full out routine!) cheer leading, streamlining, guest-book-making, etc.

Kolo Albums make great guest and parent brag books.
She had a number of DIY wedding projects since she's among the craftiest people I know. She and H (and a cast of dozens) handmade all the center piece flowers out of coffee filters a la Martha Stewart in a beautiful shade of blue.

We celebrated her birthday with a few hours of handmade tissue paper flowers and turned it into a chandelier kind of like the one featured here. Only better (in my opinion).

The week before the wedding, I got a call from the bride-to-be asking about what to do about a guest book. She said I generally had practical advice to balance out her visions of grandeur. I like to think that I'm a lazy crafter. I figure there has to be an easier way to do most things. If you're doing something that takes up more time that you'd like, then it's either not worth it or you're doing something wrong.  Anyways, I digress. I offered her the idea that I've used for other friends' weddings and said I'd make her a guest book using a photo album. You could knock this out in an afternoon if you plan ahead, at the same time it is easy enough to spread out over 3-4 30-minute windows of time.

Here's what I used:

Their photos were taken by Albert Yau, Second Print Productions. He is magical. It's like he watches Bollywood movies in his spare time or something.

I waited until Baby B was soundly asleep before I began this project. Otherwise, we'd have fingerprints everywhere. I laid out all the photos and arranged, rearranged and rearranged again until I was happy with the order. Next I used the photo corners and put individual pictures on the pages. I tried to spread them out so that the first few pages had one picture and one blank page and then doubled up with facing pictures.  That way there's plenty of room for the guests to sign around them.

Then I went through and cut 1" wide strips of the patterned paper. Each set of facing pages had matching boarders. A little bit of glue held them in place nicely. I let the book dry over night.

Finally, I worked on the insert for the front covers. The couple used Arial Narrow for their invites so I matched that general style in the 2.5" insert.

The parent album cover inserts were super easy since all I had to do was reduce the size of the guest book cover insert to just over 2" squares.  I left the first slot empty so they could insert their invitations, the rest was filled with pictures and a few slots in the back empty for wedding pictures!  When they have kids, they can give them another mini brag book to match.

April 19, 2011

Growing into Baby Gear 0-3 months

As Baby grows, I'm growing into the associated Mommy and Baby gear...and there seems to be a boundless sea of options of cute or practical and sometimes cute AND practical items. Here's a list in no particular order of items I found especially useful in the first three months of Baby's life. This list doesn't include basics like a pack and play, swing, pacifiers, and nasal aspirators...but those were extremely useful. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. This is just what worked for me.

Swaddle Blankets by Aden + Anais 

mela bamboo swaddles
Mela Bamboo Muslin Swaddle Blankets
I am a fan of the line in general, but my personal favorites are the Bamboo Muslin Swaddle Blankets that were a collaborative effort with New York based, Masala Baby. I have the Mela set for two reasons - I will bleed orange and blue (Go Illini!) and really liked the bold peacock feather pattern and block prints. They have been useful for everything including a burp cloth, nursing cover, blanket to air out baby girl parts while fending off diaper rash, travel blanket, tummy time mat, and diaper changing pad in a pinch...I think I could also use it as a beach cover up for her since it dries so quickly. If you're planning to use them as Baby grows, think about Swaddle Plus blankets. They are a bit larger and will allow you to swaddle Baby for much longer than the little guys.

Classic Sleepy Wrap

Great for Tummy Time too!
I received this as a gift and was not entirely sure how to use it at first, but it came with an instructional dvd as well as easy to follow directions on line. It also helped that a friend of mine is a leader for a local baby wearing group and was gracious enough to give me a lesson. I was nervous Baby would fall out or get her foot stuck somewhere, but after practicing (over the bed) once or twice I was good to go. It was instrumental in getting Baby to sleep when she was fussy. It helped Baby get close to my heart and drift off to sleep. It was like magic. Now that I know how to tie it properly and ensure the straps are wide enough to distribute Baby's weight, I use it all the time. It washes well, makes traveling easy and gives your arms a bit of a break. The wrap is intended to help Baby sleep for 0-3 months, after that the peeps at Sleepy Wrap encourage you to use it for transportation only.

Burp Cloths - Aden + Anais
mod about baby burpy bib
Let's face it, babies spit up. A LOT. Once again, the folks at Aden + Anais make handy burp cloths that are curved so they fit nicely over your shoulder or can double as a nursing pad at night. There's one that is also a bib. The Burpy Bib that has little snaps to convert from burp cloth to bib. I only have a few of these, the bulk of spit ups are covered by standard old burp cloths/cloth diapers. They're inexpensive, they're super handy and did I say inexpensive? 

Woodward's Gripe Water 

Woodward's Gripe Water is
popular in Europe and India
This stuff works miracles. The original used to contain alcohol, dill seed and sodium bicarbonate and possibly sucrose (sugar). Since then they've removed the alcohol and sugar but kept tummy soothing and digestion aiding spices/herbs. I was lucky that Baby did not have colic, but was rather just gassy from time to time. I also found it useful while she's been teething and starting first foods. She's like a whole new person after she has a drop of her gripe water. We use it sparingly when nothing else seems to work since Husband was not a huge fan at first. Now it's his go to soother in the event Baby is "inconsolable" which seemed to happen every time he watched her from birth to three months. I say she just missed her mommy, but that's a story for another day. You can find this at most Indian grocery stores, on line through Amazon and possibly at Asian and European markets. 
Natural / Short Liner - Click Image to Close

I had an emergency C-Section so I couldn't go up and down stairs for 6-8 weeks. The co-sleeper was instrumental in caring for Baby. Keeping Baby at arm's length was fantastic for night time feedings (especially when they were every two hours).  She was was so small and seemed so fragile at 7 lbs and 2 ounces, it was nice to keep her close but not in danger of crushing her in my sleep. While you're visiting their site, check out their pet co-sleepers for your four legged babies.

Reusable Nursing Pads by Itzy Ritzy
Glitzy Gals™ Washable Nursing Pads in NaturalI recommend two packs of 3 pairs - totaling 6 pairs to have in rotation. It is wise to double up at night or to use a cloth diaper/burp cloth. I would also encourage a lingerie mesh bag to keep track of them in the wash. They're not big and tend to get lost among the onesies, blankets, and assorted baby clothes. They are available in patterns and natural. Very important for preventing leaks. Let me repeat. VERY important for preventing leaks. I am not sure if I'm a super producer or what, but when my milk came in, it needed to go out and didn't always wait for Baby to latch on. You could DIY if you sew with fabric scraps and cotton batting as Little Lizard King did or take Husband's old 100% cotton t-shirts that need to be retired before Baby can read and cut them up into circles and layer together for a double duty project. There are a variety of disposable pads - Johnson and Johnson's are my favorite. They're virtually leak proof while Medela's disposable pads - not so much.

April 4, 2011

Making Room for Baby in the Kitchen!?!??!

Over the door canvas organizer available at Target

Husband and I have a lot of stuff. Then along came Baby so our stuff exponentially multiplied. I keep trying to go through and recycle, donate, and toss (as much as I don't like to throw things away) in spurts. Now that Baby's eating solid foods, we added utensils, food storage and baby food to her bottles, milk storage and more milk storage supplies. This meant the dog and cat treats and meds had to move..along with plastic bags and wipes and sun screens and you get the point.

Anyways, in my quest to make room for Baby in our kitchen, I decided to contain it in a 'pretty' way or at the very least fun and functional way.  The door into our kitchen lines up with our basement door so I thought this would be a good out of the way place to start to stow all those things that we need, but don't need in the kitchen and don't have space for anywhere else.

This was probably the easiest project I've tackled in a while. I printed out a bunch of categories on 4" circle labels from Paper Source and then cut out rectangles from my favorite colorful Harney and Sons and Paper Source catalogs.  I used bulldog clips that I had a stockpile of because of my obsession with office supplies. Here's a partial list of categories I used:

I used circle labels and cut up catalog pages as backgrounds
Dog Meds
Cat Meds
Dog Treats
Cat Treats
Husband Sunglasses
EB Sunglasses
Husband Hat/Gloves
EB Hat/Gloves
Freezer Bags
Storage Bags
Plastic Bags
Hand Sanitizer
Snacks (on the go!)
Citronella Candles

For those of you who require more flexibility and like uniformity, you could cut up decorative paper to use as backgrounds for labels made out of index cards. Then you could switch them up whenever you wanted.  For the Green Mom, take scraps of wrapping paper and attach to cardboard/carton/milk jug pieces. Large paper clips and clothes pins might work too, but I like the clips. We'll see if I feel the same way once Baby starts walking.

As always, thoughts welcome!

March 28, 2011

Etsy for Hair Accessories!

As I wait for Baby to fall asleep in my lap I rifled through the pages of Etsy's on line offerings. I could probably spend just as much time looking for things I never knew I needed on the site as I would at a fabric store. TROUBLE.  Thus far I have resisted as I have no events to prepare for (phew!) and no steady stream of income for frivolous flights of fancy. In the meantime a girl can dream, right? 

I came across peony bridal hair accessories and have no idea why I didn't look into this for my wedding since my bridesmaids and I carried peonies. Thinking back, it would have taken away from the smattering of East Indian details with the one-shouldered gowns they rocked down the aisle, so that might be why. Anyway there are thousands of listings for bridal hair flowers, but Pink Peppermint Design and Deeds and Petunia are my favorites at this time.

I've seen tutorials on making something like this as long as you can find the right kind of fabric flower to take apart. You'd also have to have a vintage or knock off cluster of something shiny to put in the center.  If you're not crafty or short on time, why not support the experts on Etsy who know what they're doing? 

**I haven't purchased anything from either vendor so this is just by listing description and photo**

Stunning XL Cream Vintage Peony Women and Girl's Silk Flower Hair Clip with Multi Swaroski Crystal Center
Pink Peppermint Designs on Etsy is offering this vintage flower for $13.95

Deeds and Petunia on Etsy sells this one for $58 with a vintage detail in the center
As always, thoughts welcome.

March 23, 2011

Cake Pops

A friend posted cake pops inspired by Bakerella that she made on Facebook almost two months ago. I was inspired to try making them myself.  While I was not successful at getting the cakey goodness to stay on a stick for very long, I have found a new thing to do with left over birthday cake. I ended up making cake balls and they were just as yummy.

Mine were lemon cake with cream cheese frosting dipped in vanilla melting chocolate. I am definitely making something like this again but would probably roll them a bit smaller since they are quite decadent. I don't know that I ever want to make something super fancy like Bakerella, BUT it can't hurt to have goals, right? If anyone has any tricks on getting them to stay on a stick, let me know.

These would be very sweet wrapped in cellophane as gifts for your attendants or smaller pops for your child attendants (maybe as a bribe to get them to make the hike down the aisle?). I think they'd also be adorable as favors for a shower, birthday party, reception, etc. Baby B's birthday isn't until the fall, so I have plenty of practice between now and then.

March 17, 2011

Fabric Key Chains

One of the girls at work was using stretchy thin elastic around her wrist as a key chain strap. It was really sad.  I offered to make her something sturdier and after doing some research ( I really love Google). I came across Hip Girl Boutique's tutorial on Fabric Key Chains that are really easy to make.

I used cotton webbing and grosgrain ribbon but fabric scraps would work just as easily.  I ordered the webbing and hardware supplies from Crafter's Vision because they were super inexpensive as well as very quick to deliver.

Materials I used:

1.25" Cotton Webbing
1" Grosgrain Ribbon
Double sided fusible interfacing
Key Fob hardware
Coordinating thread
Sewing machine
scrap fabric (to wrap around hardware when clamping)

It took less than an hour from start to finish. I had trouble with clamping the key fob hardware, but that's mostly because I was afraid that I'd break the hardware if I clamped down to hard. I made mine to be 8 inches and it's definitely not going to make it over my knuckles to get to my wrist. I just needed the loop to hang off of my fingers as I'm walking from the car to the house. The ones I make for the girls at work will be 10 inches around since they wear them around quite frequently. Hopefully will get those done in the next day or so. Wish me luck! 

February 17, 2011

Spit Happens

This morning started out like most others. I woke up to find Baby fussing because she's run out of crib corners to explore (wiggling on her back - no wonder she's got a bald spot).  She's hungry, so we go downstairs to start our day. I turned on the news and proceeded to nurse. No big deal.

When it was time to burp, Baby let out a little one and smirked. She opened her mouth and let everything fly. And I mean FLY. There was spit up in my hair, all over my favorite long sleeved green thermal tee. She soaked me through not one, but two layers down to my skin. A portion of it somehow went whirring past my shoulder, slid down Husband's favorite chair and found a soft landing on the throw pillow. She's never done this before. I remembered reading about projectile vomit, the last time I thought she was spitting up excessively. Projectile vomit means she might be sick or could get dehydrated. What if she's sick? She can't have electrolytes, can she?

I called Pediatrician and thought she'd tell me to wait and watch.  Instead, she asked that I bring baby in since she's only 4 months and not that big. I'm going through all the what ifs in my head, but must say that I was not nearly as panicked I feel like I should have been. No hysteria or excessive worrying. I found myself functioning at a new level of efficiency, however. I was able to get the two of us ready including a shower for myself  in less than an hour. A new Eclectic Mom record.

Pediatrician saw us almost immediately. I'd like to think because Baby was possibly so ill, but really I think it is because no one else was there.  Either way, great service. After her examination and a few questions she informs me that it was, "no big deal, spit happens." Phew. 

Next up...Solid Foods. Wish us luck!

February 13, 2011

Can't Hardly Wait...

Baby's been successfully thriving outside my body for 4 months as of today. That is crazy. She's gone from a peanut who barely opened her eyes to a gurgling and giggling baby. A real person with an emerging personality. So far, she appears to have an easy temperament. She only fusses when she's overtired or really hungry. She's pretty chatty or observant of the world around her otherwise. I am convinced it is God's way of making sure we give her a sibling.

Husband and I dread the days she's going to tell us she hates us or that her 'real parents would never...' which is a statement Husband frequently used growing up. (He grew up with his real parents, for the record as did I and as will Baby, but that's another story). Occasionally he'll say, "I can't wait until she..." and I think to myself,

This has gone by so quickly already. I want to wait as long as possible.

Not that I want to keep her a baby forever, BUT I am in no hurry for her to eat solids, walk, talk, run, go to school, grow up, get married and all that other growing up stuff. I am trying desperately to enjoy her now because I know I won't ever get it back. She's meeting all her developmental milestones like a champ. Every few days she does something new like grasp her hands together, hold her head up or roll over. At 24", she's almost outgrown my lap lengthwise which has made nursing interesting. Not so much her height but her strength is making it difficult to contain her when it is time for bed. She's able to squirm out of my lap if I'm not holding on carefully.

I look forward to future milestones intellectual, social and developmental, but I can more than wait for those days.

February 8, 2011

Teething Already?

Baby may have started teething at 15 weeks. She was fussing and was clearly tired, but not sleeping. I rocked her in the crook of my leg to put her to sleep around 8 pm. One hand on her head, one finger in her hand and usually a blanket over her head. (I'm slowly turning into my own parents). She wasn't having any of it. So I put her up on my shoulder to try to let some air out thinking it might be gas. Nope, she just head butted me in my nose and chin. Ouch. 

Next I tried singing the alphabet song as it is her favorite. It worked for a little while. She was blowing spit bubbles and drooling. A lot. It was kind of gross, actually. Then she must have remembered the pain because she started wailing with real tears. The tears got bigger and flowed more freely while the wailing increased in volume. She wasn't sobbing yet, just screaming. Loudly. Yikes!

She proceeded to shove her hands in her mouth which is mostly normal, but I'd never seen her try both at once and clamp down. I massaged her gums with my fingertips and that appeased her. For like a minute. More real tears and screaming. My kid's not a crier. 

I fetched the teething rings that have been waiting patiently in the freezer since the first of the year. They were a bit big, but the nubby plastic with ice inside seemed to soothe her little puffy gums. She was was quiet for a few minutes. Then back to wailing. Progress.

It's 11 pm and I'd done everything I knew how to do. At this point the only thing I could think of was to call my parents. As much as I didn't want to admit that I couldn't do something, I know when I need to ask for help. My dad answered and immediately offered to come over. She's just teething, no fever, no vomiting or anything scary like that. I just don't know how to get her to STOP CRYING! He woke up my mom who goes to bed at like 9. She asks if I've nursed, rocked her, sang to her, gave her a teething ring. I forget that I've just told my dad that we've done all this but apparently he didn't update her on the situation. I really just wanted to know how much Tylenol I can give her. Or should I call the doctor? She continues with massage, wet washcloth, or just talking to her since she might have missed me today, etc. My increased annoyance is  evident in my voice. Seriously? 

At this point, I've woken up Husband by yelling. (I'm downstairs, he's upstairs). My mom finally answers my question and I let her know that I will call back in a little while with an update. In the meantime, Husband found the drops and we gave her a tiny bit to hopefully reduce the pain for the night. She happily lapped up her cherry flavored medicine and calmed down. Fussing ensues, but at least it isn't crying. This might work!

I went back to singing and talking with her to calm her down. She was still fussing, so I nursed her for a few minutes. She fell asleep on her own! She woke up when I sneezed (did I mention I'm getting sick?) but fell back asleep and is generating that very snuggly baby heat. She's still sleeping in my lap as I type. Success!

I'm hoping she sleeps through the night. Thankfully I'm home for the next two days and not leaving the house. It's supposed to be below zero. Lots of orange juice for me and plenty of chilled chew toys for Baby.

February 1, 2011

Back to stuff

Cadiz12 is planning her wedding to H while working full time. She's got the basics down, but is a self proclaimed procrastinator. Since I'm not working full time yet and itching to work on some kind of project, I've adopted her wedding (as long as she lets me, that is).

Recently we were talking about what to do about the 'Getaway' or the post ceremony toss of stuff. You know that time after the ceremony where guests line up, blow bubbles, throw rice, birdseed, shaped sugar heart rice or even light up sparklers. Bubbles may stain clothing and end up in the hands of mostly small children which would detract from the overall effect you may have been aiming for. Contrary to popular belief, birds won't choke on rice; it is more likely your guests will slip and fall. Birdseed can attract birds (and their poop) before your party is over. The sugar rice is a nice alternative in that it dissolves in the rain, but it might just get sticky if thrown indoors. Cadiz informs me that sparklers are illegal in the State of Illinois so that won't work.

I've read about brides using dried flower buds on theknot. Herbs and Flowers have held meaning for various brides around the world. Here's a selected list of flowers/herbs and their meanings from iFlorist:

Almond- Virginity & Fruitfulness
Allspice - Worth Beyond Beauty
Apricot Blossom - Timid Love
Cinnamon - Love and Beauty
Clove - Dignity and Restraint
Fennel - Strength
Jasmine (white) - Amiability & Cheerfulness
Lavender - Constancy
Lotus - Mystery & Truth
Rosemary - Fidelity & Loyalty
Spearmint - Warmth of Sentiment
Tulip - Symbol of Perfect Lover
Yarrow - Healing
Here's the rest of the list

I vote for Dried Jasmine Flower Buds or Lavender Rice both available through wedding/craft vendors on line. Both are inexpensive, smell yummy and organic - no messy clean up! Since she's getting married in the same venue as the reception, guests will be able to enjoy the scent for the evening. Either scent can be incorporated into the rest of wedding details including invitations, flower arrangements, favors and decor quite easily. The jasmine would be a nice nod to Cadiz12's Godmother (my aunt) who is an avid flower gardener. I am leaning towards Jasmine since we are Indian, and not French...not that it would matter either way, because H could be French, but he could also hate Lavender (still waiting for the verdict).

Jasmine can be quite potent so it might be nice to make a blend of dried buds/herbs to create a signature wedding scent. Using a thali, stainless steal platter with raised edges, to display a variety of selected herbs and their meanings, guests could select their own combination of wishes to bestow on the bride and groom. An alternative is to mix them together and indicate on the program what the individual ingredients symbolize. Author, Geraldine Adamich Laufer, wrote a post for Herb Companion that is full of ideas of how to incorporate significant herbs throughout the day from flowers to food and even favors.

We'll see what she thinks.

In the meantime, Baby calls. 

January 28, 2011

Crockpot Cooking for 2.5

Husband and I have agreed that if I'm working part-time and caring for Baby the rest of the time, I will attempt to be the Good Little Indian Wife he thought he married. For those of you who know me, you know that's an insane request. I am Good, I am Little, I am Indian and I am his Wife...but that combination of words does not usually come up when anyone is describing me.  My father asked him if he knew what he was getting himself into when he asked for my hand in marriage, therefore he made an informed decision.

Now that Baby is sleeping for longer stretches and sometimes even at night, I have more time to tend to other things like vacuuming, picking up around the house, cooking and regular showers! We're trying to plan a weekly menu and divvy up the cooking duties. Tonight was my night to make a Vegetarian Crock Pot Curry. I got the recipe from Stephanie O'Dea's blog - A Year of Slow Cooking. It seemed easy enough to adapt to whatever's on hand. Somehow it turned out a little too tomato-ey, but still yummy. I added more yogurt than indicated and used V8 Hot and Spicy which could have accounted for the too much tomato sensation in my mouth. Overall, not so bad for my second attempt at crock pot cooking.

While searching for easy dinner recipes, I learned that I can make desserts like walnut brownies or even some kind of apple/pear thingy.  I'm all over that this weekend while Husband is on a No Girls Allowed Ski Trip.

January 26, 2011

Surprise C-Section

Doc T1 and Doc T2 (yup, same first names) had alternated examining me for the weeks leading up to my due date. Doc T2 said that Baby's head was down at least a month in advance. My due date came and went with no sign of Baby. I was HUGE, I might add. Doc T1 examined me the following Monday and at my instance, checked the position of Baby for good measure. He looked up at me and said,

"You know the baby's breech, right?"

"WHAT??!? Does this mean I need a C-Section?"

A combination of anger, fear, anxiety and even a (tiny) bit of relief washed over me. First of all, how the heck couldn't Doc T2 tell the difference between her bottom and her increasingly off the charts head? Isn't he in the business of babies? I had spent my pregnancy wrapping my head around the idea of hee-hee-hoo breathing, pushing and chomping on ice while my husband said the nicest things he'd ever read off a handout from our childbirth class. Now I had to think about someone cutting my tummy AND uterus open to pull out my child.

Would Husband be present (still saying those nice things from class)? Would my future babies have to be born this way? Would it hurt? Where would they make the incision? How long will it take? Did this make me less of a woman?

As the Doc T1 answered my questions, I started to calm down a bit. We didn't talk about my 'womanhood' as much as the technical details - I'd be in somewhat of a twilight state and Husband could be right next to me while a curtain would separate us from my lower half.  It would take about 15 minutes for them to take Baby out and a little while longer for me to regain sensation while the pain meds would kick in. In the event my water broke before surgery, I would most likely wait it out or have an emergency c-section depending on how my contractions were going.

This all sounded reasonable. I can do this. This won't be that bad.

Off I went to clean, pack, inform family, etc. I had passed the point of sleeping comfortably in bed and found the most tolerable position was propped up on the couch in the living room...which is where I was settling into around 1 am just as I felt a gush of a sweet smelling fluid. I yelled repeatedly for Husband. When I told him my water broke, he asked me to make sure I hadn't just peed in my pants. REALLY? This is when normal people would grab their bags and jump in the car and go. Husband decided to spend 30 minutes getting ready. It felt like an hour. I have no idea what he needed to do, but I was 3 minutes from taking the car and driving myself to the hospital. There were words exchanged, but I won't bore you with those details. Since Baby's head wasn't down, there was nothing plugging the dam, so to speak. I was like a leaky faucet. I had started having contractions and was still walking, talking, breathing but I couldn't feel Baby moving.

Once we arrived at the hospital, I waddled my way into the Labor and Delivery Unit. At this point, things are starting to hurt. I have to answer a lot of questions. Nurse took a blood sample. A lot of people seemed to want to look 'down there' to make sure my water had really broken. Nurse returns with blood test results and says, "Interesting," and waits for Doc T2 (he was on call) and Anesthesiologist to discuss. More questions. hee-hee-hoo More pain. Anesthesiologist informs me that my platelet count has dropped below what they would consider safe for an epidural. hee-hee-hooooooo Essentially, I was at risk for bleeding out by not clotting fast enough. heeeeee-heeeee-hooooooo My other option was to be 'put under' general anesthesia. Given my increasing state of panic and that it was the lesser of two evils, I agreed to being put under. Husband and I barely had any time to process what was happening. Neither one of us knew where they were taking me or that this was it. In what seemed like 10 minutes, the population of my triage room had tripled and they started wheeling me out of the room.  He kissed me 'goodbye' and said he'd see me when I woke up.

If I believed in alien abductions, this is what it would feel like. Everyone had a mask on, I only saw silhouettes with lights behind them. I was wheeled into an even brighter, super sterile operating room. Unfortunately Husband was not allowed in the OR since the situation had escalated to an emergency. I was fighting back tears. This is no time to cry. I'm about to be a mom. There's no crying in baseball. The over-sized digital clock said 3:59 am. Someone said something about a catheter and Anesthesiologist told me to relax and just breathe in some oxygen. This might be an only child household. Just like that, I was out.

I woke up and saw Husband was sitting in the corner snuggling a small, kind of bald (by Indian standards) doll. As I marveled at Baby, I registered excruciating pain. There is a small window of time between anesthesia wearing off and whatever super-duper pain med kicking in. As Nurse connected the drip, she said to push the little button to release the meds. I was all over that button like a gamer playing Halo. If it didn't suck already, Nurse pushed down on my uterus to ensure it was shrinking and going back to it's proper place.    

Couldn't this wait until the pain meds actually entered my system? Are you really sorry? I don't think so.

The rest of a day is a hazy blur of semi consciousness and lots of visitors. I've not posted any pictures of myself in the hospital for a reason. A woman after a C-Section isn't pretty. I was a hot, puffy mess. My incision was actually the only 'pretty' thing on me. Doctor T2 was a perfectionist and had put me back together with a virtually seamless reminder of my first baby. Now, three months later, I have 10 lbs to lose and 1/2 of my incision is invisible. I'm sad Husband and I will never experience delivery the ol' fashioned way, but if it means that we're better able to care for baby afterwards, it's all good. 

January 23, 2011

Crying it Out

I've read a lot about child rearing dos and don'ts. DO encourage tummy time to promote muscle development. Do spend time talking with Baby so she learns language. Do spend time encouraging Baby to explore the world around her, etc.  DON'T over dress Baby to avoid heat rash. DON'T feed baby solids until 6 months. DON'T put Baby on her tummy to sleep. It's getting the Baby to sleep and more importantly stay asleep that is tricky. Baby B is great at dozing off in my arms or snuggled on my chest.  She's even done a great job transferring to the crib. Every once in a while she gets her nights and days switched which is to be expected. I mean, if you lived floating in mostly darkness, would you have any idea which way was up let alone night and day?

In an effort to develop positive sleep habits, we've encouraged Baby to soothe herself. (I read it in a book somewhere). She's successfully put herself back to sleep when she wakes herself up during naps and she hears my voice. There are no tears, no sounds of pain or extreme distress. It's like she just wants to make sure I'm still close by.

Tonight, my husband and I are attempting to let Baby 'Cry it Out'. Literally, right now, she's upstairs crying in her crib. She went to bed about an hour ago woke up about 20 minutes ago. It started out as a whimper then some fun chatting with her giraffe blankie and then onto her bear and even the nice dolly that sits in the corner of the crib (a very safe distance away since she doesn't move enough to warrant taking all that stuff out, yet).

Then it got louder.

Then there were tears.

Now it's an all out screeching but not quite a tea kettle blowing.

Ten minutes passed. I went upstairs and my heart ached when I picked her up. She was crying with her whole body. That gasping-for-air-between-wails-kind of crying. I don't feel as bad as I thought I would...probably because I was able to soothe her. Her eyes were puffy and red and she looked like she'd been through a battle. We discovered that she's inherited her dad's skin (her broken capillaries show through) and my scratchy voice. (It will get worse when she's overtired or goes to church camp - allergies mostly!).

When I picked her up from the crib, I had a flash forward of a day when nothing I say or do will soothe her. Or worse yet, I'm the one who makes her cry like that because I've denied her the latest craze or discourage dating before she's ready. Yikes! She's 3 months old, I have a while before I need to worry about boys, right? Although where did the last three months go? So soon enough, but not today. Time to put Baby back to bed.

January 21, 2011

From Sweats to Suits

Baby B is now 3 months old (and adorable, I might add). She's cooing, holding her head up, clasping her hands and drooling. A lot. She seems to recognize me and laughs when I sing her the alphabet song. It's pretty amazing that this little peanut lived in my body for over 9 months. While she still looks like my husband, we're hopeful her hair will fill in and she'll look more like me soon.

Now that she's not nursing every two minutes, I have started looking for a full time job. I LOVE spending my days and nights ensuring my daughter (still feels strange to use that word) is entertained, clean and has a full belly, but it's time to contribute to the household expenses. I am considering opportunities non profit development/fundraising, retail, and consulting. I've put off shopping for 'big girl clothes' as long as possible since I keep telling myself I'll lose the weight. The nursing every two minutes did allow me to lose over 20 lbs since coming home from the hospital, but it still leaves me one size larger than any of my suits. My mom friends tell me it takes nine months to put it on and it will take nine months to take it off. Since I don't have nine months before interviewing and such, I went shopping. Correction, I went nuts shopping. Well, not Confessions-of-a-Shopoholic-nuts, but a little beyond my normal coupon-and-promotional-sale-combining ways. I ended up with some good finds - a suit, a few shirts, an adorable orange hooded cable knit sweater, two dresses and lounge wear a.k.a. - sweats!

My husband HATES frumpy sweats. He apparently associates them with laziness or lack of attention for one's looks. I would like to stress that he doesn't think of me this way, just a generalization based on his previous experiences with those who wear sweat pants excessively. I argue that they are a quick, easy to clean and comfy option for a mom who barely has time to shower. Since marriage is about compromise, we agreed 'cute' sweats are okay for home and errands, just not social outings. I digress.

So this whole business of suit wearing or rather buttoning is quite disheartening. Why can't everything be forgiving as elastic? Clearly suit makers are not concerned with postpartum moms returning to the workplace or even civilized society, for that matter. I miss the days of walking into my favorite store and knowing exactly what style and fit suited me best. In all my searches for clothes that fit, only elastic or maternity pants worked for six weeks after Baby B arrived. I have spent many of Baby B's naps trying things on, getting frustrated, buying, returning, exchanging and even crying a few times. I know it will take time and I should be patient, and I really don't look that bad....but trousers don't lie. These hips will never be the same.

I really wish there were more options for postpartum clothing. They make clothes that grow with you, why can't they make clothes that shrink with you as well? Maybe that's my million dollar idea.

In the meantime, one size up suit, here I come.