Married to the Empire

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baby? What Baby?

There's really no good way to prep our cats for the arrival of a baby.  They just don't have a clue.  They are aware that my belly is getting bigger, but I don't think they get why.  It's funny to watch them try to sit in my lap these days, as they realize there's less room, or if they want to be on me, there's this mound of belly that they have to navigate.  There have been times that Doogie obviously wanted in my lap, and I was inviting him up, but he just kept staring at my belly suspiciously.  And Ninja has fallen off my lap a few times when turning around.  I thought it was because my lap shrank and took him by surprise, but then he fell off of Steven's lap, too.  Our little Ninja isn't always so ninja-like. 

We've been collecting necessary furniture and clearing out the guest room.  The cat beds have been moved out, as well as the futon that Doogie liked to sleep on during the day.  Doogie is still determined to sleep in that room, though, regardless of the fact that all of his beds are gone.

Ninja truly has no concept of the phrase, "That's for the baby, not you!"

"What do you mean this isn't a cat bed?  It looks like one and feels like one.  Besides, I see no baby (whatever that is) using it!  It's MINE!"
"Burp cloth?  What's a burp cloth?  I just see it as soft, warm, and available, so it's mine!"
We suspect the baby's arrival is going to be quite the shock for our furry boys. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Latest Baby News

I saw my OB yesterday for a check-up and a sonogram. I had Steven come with me for the first time (he went with me to see the high-risk OB the day we found out the gender, but he hadn't met my regular OB).  Something my OB said last time made me think that she thinks he's an uninvolved father, which is just silly.  I can't see any point in having him miss work just to accompany me to an appointment in which we chat, she measures my belly, and she listens to the heartbeat.  But I didn't feel bad about asking him to come for a sonogram. And because he is involved, he had no problem saying yes.  (Don't even ask me why I care what my OB thinks.  It's probaby the hormones talking.)

After the frightening experience of my last sonogram, I was apprehensive about getting another one.  The good news is that we were told everything looks normal!  We came away with tons of pictures, which I would scan if we owned a scanner.  Not that one can really tell, but the facial shots we have of him just look like a baby.  We see no evidence of chromosomal abnormalities, so I'm hoping this means we have a perfectly healthy baby growing right now. 

I was told that he measures approximately 4 lbs. 12 oz. right now, which sounds like a lot to me, as I'm only 31 weeks, but the doctor said it's fine.  He's in the 83% range size-wise, which is healthy.  Considering his weight right now, I'm surprised I've only gained 14 lbs. total.  (Kind of hoping this means I'll be skinnier after I've had a baby!  Even my rheumatologist mentioned that I appear to have lost weight in pregnancy.  Go figure! If the baby wants to eat my fat, he's welcome to it!  I just want him to stop eating my brain.) 

We also received a third confirmation that he's a boy.  So, I feel as if I can now confidently announce his name:  Matthew Alexander.  Matthew is after my father and grandfather.  Alexander is just because Steven likes it.  We'll call him Alex. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homemade Burp Cloths with Thrifted Fabric

A few months ago I went to the estate sale of a former crafter.  It was advertised as such, and I wasn't disappointed.  The master bedroom was filled with fabric, ribbon, thread, and other various crafting items.  I came away with several full spools of ribbon, which I like to use on gifts--so much nicer than cheap wrapping ribbon.  (And they make great hair ribbons for little girls afterwards or cat toys for the household felines.)  I also left with four pieces of flannel fabric in solid and baby-ish prints.  My plan was to make burp cloths with them.  I spent a total of $4 for all the fabric.

As with most of my sewing projects, this went in stages.  I started with washing the fabric right after I brought it home sometime in the spring.  Then I didn't around to cutting it out until late June.  I looked up online typical measurements for burp cloths, then made a cardstock template in that size.  (I think it wound up being 10" x 18", but I really can't remember for sure.)  I laid it out on the wrong side of the fabric and traced around it with a charcoal pencil. 

I wound up cutting out twenty pieces total to make ten burp cloths.  I used yellow fabric for the back of the burp cloths with the moons and stars, and white flannel for the back of the ones with puppies.  I failed to take any photos of the rest of the process (which finally occurred this past week), but it was just pinning the fabric with right sides together and sewing all around the rectangle, leaving an opening big enough for my hand to fit through.  Once that was done, I cut off the corners, then turned the fabric right side out.  Then I sewed all around the edges to sew the hole closed and to give it a nice finished look.  

I'm very pleased with how they turned out!  They'll be great for our soon-to-arrive baby boy.  I think I got a remarkable value out of my $4 spent on estate-sale fabric.  The only bad thing is that I think the fabric had been sitting in her home for a few years and had been previously washed.  I, of course, then washed it again when I brought it home.  It doesn't look as new as I'd like, which means I won't be giving any of this batch as gifts.  But I guess that works out because all the other pregnant women I know right now are having girls. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Baby Books

I'm big on reading.  (Obviously, as I have a degree in English and used to teach it.)  I've been collecting board books for our baby here and there since finding out I'm pregnant.  Mostly, it's been good stuff.  But when I found this at Half-Price Books the other night, I had to get it:

I did first make sure that stormtroopers aren't in the book.  Figured it's not a good idea to have our kid thinking that Daddy is a villain (even if he is). 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Baby, It's HOT Outside!

Unless you've been living under a rock, I suspect you know that Texas is hitting record temperatures.  And we're in a drought.  It's miserable, to be frank.  The heat is making my pregnant body swell up.  Doogie is no longer being allowed Mail Time each day.  And even our whirly-twirly Ninja Cat is low on energy. 

Common scenes from our house in this heat:

Too... hot. Can't... move.  Must... lie... as if dead. 

I looked out the window this morning and noticed a squirrel attached to an oak tree.  He was upside down with his belly pressed up against the trunk.  He appeared to be sleeping in that position.  Guess that was a cool spot or something. 

I started feeding the birds again.  I gave that up when Calvin got so sick. I needed to cut animal expenses somewhere, and I certainly wasn't going to cut Calvin's care.  The birds have been back at the feeder in force.  I felt sorry for them, though, as any time I drove down the alley, I'd see them playing in whatever tiny puddles of water collected there from people's watering run-off.  So, we bought a bird bath on Friday.  I'm faithfully refilling it every morning.  I finally had success with it yesterday afternoon.

(Please excuse the lack of clarity.  I had to take the photo through a dirty window.  I'd wash my windows, but it's too hot.)

As for me, I'm having to get things accomplished in small spurts.  Run errands in the morning only.  Do some work, then lie on the couch with my (swollen) feet up.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

We (very expensively) replaced our air conditioning system last summer.  Never have I been so grateful for that expense as I am this year!  I'm generally a cold-natured person, but pregnancy has changed that.  I'm not even sleeping with any covers over me lately.  Our awesome, new, efficient AC system can't even keep up with the heat.  (Record high of 110 yesterday!)  When it was 11pm, and it still couldn't get below 80 degrees (it's set at 79), we just decided to bump the setting up to 80.  No reason to force the system to run all night over a 1-degree difference.  But during the day?  I've got it back to 79 and running non-stop.  Ordinarily, I'd be more energy-conscious, but this summer, in my pregnant and swollen state, I don't even care if our electric bill is $500!  (Okay, I'd probably care a little if it actually got that high, but I'm miserable.)

At least I'm not covered in fur. 

What you can't see is that Doogie is fully stretched out under the ceiling fan, trying to get some relief

Monday, August 1, 2011

Youth Group Puppet Workshop at Dallas Life

Our church has a puppet ministry that some of our youth are involved in.  On Saturday, we took our puppet team, plus a few extra volunteers to Dallas Life, which is a homeless ministry in south Dallas.  The agenda for the afternoon was to perform a puppet show for the kids, have them make their own puppets, then they'd learn how to perform with their puppets. 

I found some fabulous puppet templates at this site.  I figured it would be easiest to have templates available for making specific puppets, although the kids were certainly free to make whatever creative puppets they could come up with on their own.  I made some mock-ups to bring along, so they could see what they would look like finished. 

The cat and the owl were my personal favorites, but the kids immediately gravitated towards the lion.  We ran out of lion templates in the first 10 minutes!  Making puppets kept the kids occupied for a good hour.

A few of the children's creations:

The kids then gathered in front of the puppet stage to watch a show:

Then, the kids went in small groups to perform with their own puppets.  (If I never hear the Veggie Tales' "Oh Where Is My Hairbrush" again, it will be too soon.) 

I won't lie.  It was an exhausting afternoon, and I didn't even do all that much!  (Swollen from heat + pregnancy, so I sat much of the time with my feet up, although I did help a kid cut stuff out.  I also pulled out my teacher voice at one point when the kiddos wouldn't be still or quiet for their peers' performance.  They actually listened to me.  Still got it!  Oh, and I became the bathroom lady who took kids to the bathroom.  That's a new one for me!)  It was a rewarding afternoon, though.  The kids seemed to have a good time, their parents got a little time off to do whatever they needed/wanted to do that afternoon, and our students enjoyed the opportunity to share the Lord and do outreach among the less fortunate in our area.  Totally worth it!