New Toys

Today was a busy day, preceded by a long night. Yesterday I had an awful headache, and by Anna’s bed time I was miserable. I got her to sleep fairly quickly, and then laid down in her room because my head hurt too much to even think about doing anything that required my eyes to be open. I chose her room over mine because I knew she would wake up a few times, since she hasn’t been sleeping well lately. Sure enough she woke up two or three times within the first few hours, but I only had to stumble over to her crib and pat her back to get her back to sleep.

Around 11ish though, she woke up screaming and it took me a little while to get her back to sleep. Then she woke up again a little while later and was wide awake, so we let her play a little before trying to get her settled down again. I think it was sometime after 1:00 when I finally got her to go to sleep… for about two minutes. Then she was wide awake again. I tried leaving her on her own in her crib a while with no success, and then close to 2am I threw in the towel. I told Sean to give the kid a bottle, my head was still splitting and I had to go to sleep. I think it was around 3am before he got her to sleep, but I was sound asleep and don’t even remember him coming to bed.

Luckily after that she slept until around 8:30, so I managed to get enough sleep to not feel wrecked. Even though my head still hurt a bit when I woke up. Despite grand plans of getting out and starting our day early, we didn’t make it out of the house until 11:45. I had a hair cut scheduled for noon, so Sean dropped me off there while he took Anna shopping. Then it was lunch, clothes shopping for Sean, a quilt show at the fairgrounds, a walk through the flea market, dinner, shopping at Buy Buy Baby & Target, and then finally getting back home around 7:30.

Anna did great for being on the go so long, I was really proud of her. She did “talk” really loudly a lot, but no one really seemed bothered by her. It seems like we will have to stick to noisy places for the next few months! She took two naps on the go, and only got a little cranky a couple times. For the most part she was happy all day. And of course while we were at the quilt show we were stopped by some coo’ing old lady about every 10 feet. For some reason a lot of people thought she was a boy today… I don’t get it. She had on pink socks and a pink top, and jeans with pink stitching.

I was also happy that somehow we managed to go the whole day without formula, despite being out of the house for nearly 8 hours. I was able to feed her in the parking lot at the fairgrounds, and in the mother’s room at Buy Buy Baby. We also gave her some solid food while we ate lunch, which was the first time we did that outside of the house.

So it was a really good day. The quilt show was pretty awesome, and Sean was a trooper. He pushed the stroller, weaving through the crowd of old ladies and being patient with all the people that wanted to talk to the baby. He also didn’t complain too much about me buying some things that I don’t really need, considering all the un-started projects I already have waiting for me.

There were tons of cool quilts on display, which I hurried through because I didn’t want Sean or Anna to run out of patience. I just stopped at the really cool ones. Most of my time was spent at the vendor booths, since there were several shops there that I was unfamiliar with or are too far away for me to frequent. Plus lots of the vendors had project kits put together, which I like because it saves me time.

I picked up a couple things to make for Anna, and a couple things for myself as well. Of course, Sean rolls his eyes when I say I am buying stuff like this for Anna. But it really is for her… and me. I get the fun of making it and then watching her play with it.

For Anna, I picked up a kit to make a little taggie blanket for her. It is a small “blanket” of about 12″ square with one soft, fuzzy side (made of a fabric called minkee) and one cotton side; and all around there are little “tags” of folded ribbon sticking out. She LOVES tags, so I know she will really like this. It shouldn’t take me long to make at all since it is really just sewing two squares together, so maybe I can whip it up tomorrow. I will of course post a photo in the Sewing Projects section when I get it finished.

The other thing I got for Anna is a panel of fabric that is printed with pieces for an owl pillow. This is another thing that shouldn’t take too long to do, but I will probably put it off until I finish the Yellow Brick Road quilt… or until I just need a break from it at least.

For me, I picked up a kit to make a little wallet. It is a bifold that closes with a button, and holds a couple credit cards and has a zippered pouch. Honestly I don’t need this, but I liked the fabric and it looked like a fun learning experience. Aside from that, I also got a quilt pattern and ruler – yet another addition to my “to do” list of quilts.

So those were my new toys, and Anna got a new toy as well. Since she is pulling up on things, we decided to get her a toy she could play with while standing. The one we ended up with is called the “Ball-cano” … you can see why Sean chose this one. (click the link for a photo) The box claims it is for 6+ months, but I think she is a little young for it. She does like playing with it, but she is too young to grasp putting the balls in the top piece, or the cause and effect of it. Right now she is still refining the motor skills to pick the balls up, which is super cute to watch. It takes both of her hands, and a fair amount of concentration. Mostly I think she likes the sounds and flashing lights it makes, and she likes that she can stand up with it. For now it seems like it will take both of us helping her to play with it. One person to make sure it doesn’t flip over, one person to make sure she doesn’t face plant into the hard plastic, and both of us to keep feeding the balls through. The mechanism that pushes the balls out of the “ballcano” is triggered by a rolling piece up top, which she can do on her own even if she doesn’t quite connect that cause with the effect of the balls being pushed out and the lights and music starting.

Level Up: Crawling! + Bonus Level: Pulling Up!

This is Anna pulling up on her changing table
Anna pulling up on her changing table

As of Tuesday, March 4, Anna is officially crawling. She had been trying to crawl for a while before that, but as soon as she figured out how to sit she stopped trying to crawl for a couple weeks. It was like every time she started to push up on all fours her butt would somehow find its way back to the floor and she would just sit. So we worked with her, placing toys a little out of her reach to encourage her to crawl for them.

A few days before she mastered the art of crawling, she would only crawl when distracted. We would get a toy she really liked, and then slowly move it (like a carrot on a stick) and she would crawl after it. However, as soon as she tried to think about how to crawl for something she would just end up sitting on her butt again.

Enter: The Book.

That weekend we made a trip out to Buy Buy Baby for some needed things, and while we were there we picked up a couple new books for her. One of them was ‘Say Moo?’ by Fischer Price. We were completely unprepared for her reaction to this book. I don’t know what it is about it, but she loves the cover. As soon as she sees it she lights up, and it was this book that spurred her to crawl across the room. Now all you have to do is show it to her and she will speed across the room, plowing through everything in her path, just to get a hold of it. Unfortunately it is cardboard and she just wants to chew on it, but still, it is adorable to watch her get so excited over it.

Tuesday morning I played with her in the floor before mom (aka Grandma, aka The Nanny) took over, and I knew she was really close to crawling. She would crawl a foot or so for that book if you moved it across the floor in front of her, but still wasn’t crawling without the proverbial carrot. I told mom she would be crawling by the end of the day if she gave her plenty of floor time, and sure enough, Anna was crawling within hours. I am so glad I got to work from home that day!

And what is more, Anna is also pulling up now. She pulled up once in her crib about a week before she started crawling, but hadn’t really reproduced the feat since. But last night she was pulling up on everything she could get her little hands on. It started with a little wooden crate that her toys are in, I turned my back for two seconds and when I looked back she was standing up digging through the toys. Then she was pulling up on the changing table to play with things on the shelves, and then again in her crib.

It won’t be much longer before she is trying to walk! Already she is “walking” when we hold her hands, and it seems to make her incredibly happy. I can’t believe she is already doing these things. She is only 6 months (+ 1 week) old! I really didn’t expect her to be pulling up until closer to 8 months. Looks like we better get her one of those walking toys soon, I will have to see if they make one that can be stationary for pulling up on so that she has something to play with while standing up. Last night it was the q-tip box and the diaper bin on the changing table shelves… I would rather her have some toy I don’t have to worry about.

Quilting Class

Today I had my first ever quilting class, and now I feel much more confident in my abilities. The class today was very informal, as it was just a “block of the month” class. A block of the month (BoM) is a common thing in the quilting world, it is a quilt that is broken up into smaller monthly projects. They are typically year-long affairs, but there are various lengths from six months to two years. It really just depends on the intricacy of the quilt being made.

These projects are hosted by quilt shops, and the participants pay a monthly fee. Again it varies by BoM, but typically the way it works is that each month you get fabric and instructions for that month’s block, and there is an optional class that you can attend where they walk you through making the block. I have signed up for two BoMs this year. One has a class each month, the other does not. You can see more about those quilts on the project pages I made for them… Elegance BoM and Thangles BoM.

I have never really socialized with other quilters before this, except for brief conversations while in stores. As I said, the format of the class today was very informal. The owner of the shop gave some brief instruction and then people just sewed and asked for help or tips as needed, and chatted with one another. Everyone in there was old enough to be my mother. Or maybe grandmother in some cases. There were about seven ladies in there aside from myself; they all seemed friendly and were of various skill levels. The lady that sat behind me was very experienced and even made some show quilts, while the lady opposite me seemed very new at sewing. Possibly even newer than myself, as she was having quite a bit of difficulty.

Whenever it takes me a bit to figure some new thing out, I always just assume it is because I am inexperienced and/or an idiot. But hearing these ladies that have been quilting for years stumble on the same things made me feel a lot better. I really enjoyed the class, although I hesitate to really call it a class. It was more like a workshop, or supervised sewing time – Uninterrupted sewing time!

That was the best part. Three hours of sewing without having to feel too guilty about not taking care of something at home, having to stop to do baby things, having to wait until the baby was asleep, etc. It was three hours of time set aside and approved for me to get out and have me-time doing something I enjoy. It was one of the few times I have been able to focus completely on sewing since the baby was born, and one of the first times in quite a while I was able to sew without being tired since I normally don’t get to have time to myself until the baby goes to sleep and I take care of things around the house… which means I only get to sew in the time I can steal after about 9pm.

Of course I still felt a little guilt that I was away from the baby, but I guess that is just part of being a mommy. Every time you aren’t giving all of your attention to the baby, you feel like a bad parent. Especially if you are breastfeeding, and know you are voluntarily away from her when she should be nursing… even though the people taking care of her are perfectly capable and she can drink from a bottle just fine.

Anyhow… I have now completed all 5 of my January blocks, 1 of the 4 February blocks, and one of the four March blocks. It shouldn’t take me too much longer to finish up the remaining blocks, as I made a lot of progress on them. I will try to get those knocked out soon, as well as my March Thangle block (Thangle quilt is one single block each month). Then I will update those pages with some more photos. I am saving the Thangle for once I am done with the Elegance blocks though, as seeing how the Thangle turns out is pretty fun. It will be my reward for getting the Elegance stuff out of the way.

I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed with my backlog of projects, so I am sure Sean will be happy to hear I am not allowing myself to take anything else on for a while… no matter how many times I see something and think “OMG I have to make that!” I will still pick up patterns if I see something I really like, but no more fabric for a while. When I see stuff that I get super excited about, I just remind myself that there will always be something that I will be excited about and that I should just let it go and wait until I have finished what I already have… or at least until I finish most of what I already have.

That Yellow Brick Road quilt is still sitting here waiting to be quilted; I am swimming in BoM blocks; there are some appliqué patterns someone was kind enough to digitize for me (so I can use my embroidery machine) two weeks ago that I haven’t had time to test out; the Flower Patch quilt is still only half pieced; I have most of what I need to make a tote bag sitting here on the table; I have a book of “in the hoop” projects Sean gave me for Christmas I haven’t even had time to play with yet; and fabric for at least four quilts waiting on me in the closet. Not to mention I have really been wanting to try making some baby shoes and plushy toys! So many things, so little time. And I am pretty sure I have missed some things in there.

Anna Sits

And now she is officially sitting up all by herself. Her breakthrough happened Monday, so she has been sitting up for about five days now. I knew she was getting close, but then she suddenly sat up Monday morning while mom and I were sitting in the floor with her. I was looking at my laptop, and only saw it out of the corner of my eye. It wasn’t long before she fell over, and sat up a second time though.

Anna has been getting steadier and steadier at it all week, and now she is pretty stable at it. There are still times when she flops over though, and sometimes that results in her scaring herself or smacking her head on things. I am sure we are getting closer and closer to our first injury, but hopefully she will at least save that for when she is walking.

Since figuring out how to sit she hasn’t really been trying to crawl as much. I am sure it won’t be long before she is back to attempting to crawl, but for now she seems to just want to sit and can’t quite figure out how to un-sit and get back to a crawling position.

This new milestone has also affected her sleep. And our sleep. While she was unable to sit, I could lay her down in her crib when she was still awake and she would drift off pretty quickly (as long as she was super sleepy anyway)… but now she just sits up. And gets mad that she is alone and bored, which leads to fussing. Or, she will sit until she starts to nod off… will then fall over and scare herself awake… then will either be upset or just awake again, and will go back to sitting. I guess this weekend we will have to go shopping for some crib toys she can use to entertain herself, hopefully that will help her settle down at night instead of just being upset that she has been left alone in a crib with nothing to do.

Catching Up

Sorry it has been so long since the last post. I have been busy with life, work, baby, quilting, etc etc and haven’t really had much time for posting lately. I will try to be better about it, promise!

The quilting update will be quick… since my last post I have completed one more baby quilt (not for Anna) that I will take pictures of and post soon, and I basted (put the top, batting, and backing together but have not quilted) that Yellow Brick Road quilt that has been hanging around since October. I started trying to quilt the Yellow Brick Road, but was having trouble getting it to move well on my new machine. So I have put it aside again temporarily while I await the delivery of my extension table, which should make life easier.

Anna has definitely changed a lot since my last post. She has long since mastered rolling in all directions, and is now working hard on sitting and crawling. Just today she reached the point where she is sitting nearly unassisted, although she can’t actually sit up on her own yet. You can tell she really really wants to, and will lift herself up like she is doing abdominal crunches. Once we help her sit up, she still needs a little support but is doing really well as long as she has a toy to keep her attention. As soon as she gets distracted though, she topples over.

Crawling is also a work in progress. She is lifting up on her hands and knees, with her head up, very well now. She is also rocking back and forth on her knees, which is how they eventually figure out how to gain movement. Sometimes she even manages to scoot both knees forward at the same time, and you can see the frustration when she can’t figure it out. It usually isn’t long before she ends up doing a belly flop or face plant, but she is improving daily. It won’t be long before she figures it out… then our world will definitely change!

Right now she is happy to sit in her Excersaucer or roll around on the floor in her room, but she is already trying to crawl out of our laps when we hold her sometimes. The trouble is that once she makes it off our lap she can’t figure out how to go any further. As soon as she works out the crawling thing, I have a feeling she won’t be happy to stay in the same place for long.

The other new development is that Anna is eating solid foods now. Well, strained pureed baby foods. I just got the feeling she was ready for it, so I decided to try it out and see if she was interested. If she didn’t look like she wanted to eat I was just going to put it aside for a week or two and try again, but after a few spoonfuls she got the hang of it and was opening her mouth for more.

The photos above are her first tastes of food. We started with applesauce, which was actually pretty tasty. I liked it better than some of the applesauces marketed to adults! It was a little tart if you have never had food before though I suspect, and she made some hilarious faces. It might look like she hated it in the photos, but those were just some funny shots of her face as she flashed through about a hundred different expressions from confusion, to shock, to joy while she was eating for the first time.

After a week of feeding her in her little Bumbo chair we decided it was time for a highchair, so now we have yet another piece of baby stuff cluttering up our house. At least we managed to find one that folds up nicely and fits under the counter overhang in the kitchen. The chair also gives her a new place to be entertained since we can stick suction cup toys to the tray… plus apparently the chair straps are super fun to chew on.

I am not sure we can say Anna is actually “eating” yet, at this point it is still just an introduction to different flavors and the act of swallowing foods. There is no real schedule, we just feed her as much as she wants when she seems like she is in a good mood for it. She ends up eating about 2-4 ounces at a time usually, a couple times a day, and seems to be taking to it well. If she stops opening her mouth for the next bite, or looks too cranky, we will stop feeding her since we are trying to make it a positive experience. I am sure she will gradually eat more and more of the solids, and in a few weeks it will probably start being more of an actual meal for her rather than snacks here and there between nursing/taking a bottle.

Baby, Pets, Quilts, etc

The past week has gone by very quickly, which is surprising considering how slow work is right now. This was mom’s first week as nanny, and she seemed to enjoy the job. Anna has been happy too, but it is getting harder to leave her these days. Anna is now at a point where she is getting excited to see me come home, which means she must miss me when I am gone. At work I find myself wishing I was home, and constantly contemplating asking if I can work from home until she is at least eating food… but I know I need to be in the office too. And I am afraid of asking, since I spent pretty much all of last year working from home half the day, and then a few weeks working from home full time before taking three months’ leave. And these days I get in at 10am all too often just because it is difficult to get out of the house when Anna needs me… she is usually hungry about the time I should be walking out the door.

There were a couple eventful days this week, and this weekend is going to be pretty busy as well. I can’t remember if it was Monday or Tuesday, but somehow Jack managed to rip his leg open. Mom sent us a photo of his wound around noon, but it was pretty blurry so I couldn’t tell how bad it was. I thought it was just a quarter sized raw spot. I made a vet appointment for him anyway, and Sean took him in at 4pm. The poor dog ended up with four staples… apparently what I took for a raw spot in the photo was actually a gaping wound. If I had known it was that bad I would have made his appointment earlier in the day! Jack is doing well with his staples so far, hopefully he will continue to leave them alone for the next couple weeks.

We also had Anna’s 4 month check-up and shots today. The doctor seems happy with her, and she is a little over 13 pounds now! She is still on the small side, falling in the 25th to 50th percentiles for height and weight… but I did too when I was a child. She is still charming strangers too. I swear that at least four people have commented on her “mohawk” in the past week alone. Today one of the people at the pediatricians office asked if it was a haircut or natural… ugh, yes, like I would give my baby girl a mohawk.

The only other notable stranger stories lately are: 1) on New Years Eve we were standing in line at Boston Market, Sean was holding her in her carrier. I noticed the man standing behind Sean was bent over paddling his hands at her and making faces. 2) We were eating at Chili’s. A couple waitresses had to coo over her, but one walked past and asked to hold her. I use the phrase “ask” lightly. It was more like she held her hands out and expected us to just hand her over.

This weekend is going to be pretty full too. In addition to the usual weekend errands, and the serious need to clean our house, Saturday Eddie has an appointment for shots and I have a hair cut. Seems like there is some other stuff going on too. And Sunday I want to go check out a quilting guild and see what it is all about. They have a two hour meeting at Spoonflower in Durham, which coincidentally is in the same location Motricity occupied on Meridian Parkway… so in addition the checking out the guild and getting to see Spoonflower’s headquarters, it will be interesting to see the space again.

I will have to post photos of Baby Quilt #2 soon… it is nearly done. I just have to finish hand-stitching the binding.

Loaner

I took my machine to the dealer today, they were pretty cool about it. The main clerk looked at it, said that terrible noise was normal (it isn’t) but then saw how it got stuck in that loop trying to calibrate the embroidery unit. She tried out another embroidery unit, which worked… so she sent me home with that unit as a loaner. The owner of the shop is supposed to look at it when he comes in tomorrow, and they may just replace it. Who knows. In the meantime I have a functioning machine again, so I am happy.

So far I have only quilted a 16″ square of my quilt, because I had to rip out a couple segments and re-do them on account of having my tension set wrong (resulting in loose stitches on top, and tight on bottom). Now I am tired and ready to sleep before I start making stupid mistakes, even though I really wish I could stay up and play all night. I already made one stupid mistake and picked a bit of a real stitch when I was trying to remove a placement line… hopefully I can repair that without having to rip the whole thing out and do it a third time.

Maybe I will be able to finish it this weekend. I can’t wait to see how it comes out! It might be hard to find the time though. This weekend we have to get the tree down and try to get the house in order again. I am so sick of having this huge tree taking up space in the house, and there are various things that have piled up as a result of Christmas, being busy, and general laziness. Not to mention the never-ending pile of laundry, and the probability of mom needing help getting settled into her new apartment. Not that I mind helping, just means less time to finish my quilt. And not only am I eager to finish this one, but I am eager to start the next! I have problems.

The next quilt is going to be for mom. Although I suppose I should probably go back to that Flower Patch quilt I was piecing before getting interrupted by life… but that is just a project for the sake of experience, and I am not that eager to get back to it. The quilt for mom will be the first thing I have actually made to give someone… and it is a pattern and fabric that I really like. So, since it is something someone is waiting for, it takes priority over my other projects. The only reason I have put this baby quilt before it is that it was small and quick, and Anna needs a good blanket to play on. But I guess I really should finish that Yellow Brick Road quilt before starting a whole new one. So, scratch that… the next thing is to finish the Yellow Brick Road quilt, then I’ll start the one for mom. All I have to do there is add the border and do the quilting, the top has already been pieced otherwise.