Thursday, March 29, 2012

straight jackets and beanies

I had a good prenatal appointment at the clinic today, and that left me in a bit of a nesting mood.  Brian is on another out-of-town trip (coming back this afternoon – yay!) and so I have a bit of free time to myself.  Also, now that I’m in the second trimester I have enough energy to actually stay awake when Greg is napping, which gives me a nice two-hour chunk of me time.

I wanted to sew something for the baby.  It’s a fine balance, because we want to travel light on our way back to the States and don’t want a bunch of extra luggage.  On the other hand, I don’t know if I’ll have the time (or a sewing machine!) to sew up some things once we get there.  Plus, this whole not-finding-out-the-sex-of-the-baby thing kind of limits your choices when it comes to choosing fabrics and colors.  So I compromised and made a few small, gender neutral things.

Project number one was a Straight Jacket Swaddler from this tutorial I found online.  I didn’t swaddle Greg very much, mostly because he was really good at wiggling out of anything I tried.  But I thought this pattern seemed worth a try.  It’s got a strap between the legs to keep it on better, and I liked the fact that it was so lightweight that it could be used in warmer environments.  I used a flannel Winnie the Pooh receiving blanket for the fabric.

Since I don’t have a real live baby to experiment on, Teddy was coerced into being my model.  Follow the link to the tutorial to see it in use with an actual human baby.

Project number two was a baby beanie.  Greg only ever wore sun hats, because he was born in July and then moved to the tropics when he was 7 weeks old.  The kid has been barefoot and in shorts his whole life.  (I guess he’s in for a surprise!)  But baby number two will be born in September, and will probably need some bundling up.  I used an old, super-soft knit shirt for this project.  For the hat, I used the instructions and pattern found here.

Once again, Teddy is my model.  I’m assuming that it will look better on a real baby, because I’m really hoping my child doesn’t have ears that stick out of the top of his head like that!  This was super easy, and so I think I’ll be making a few more hats in more adventurous colors.  I’ll probably try out some different styles too.  There are so many great free patterns on the internet these days.  (This is why Brian shouldn’t leave me home alone – our internet bill is going to be higher this month!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

16 weeks, etc.

I’ve been waiting for something interesting to happen so that I can blog about it, but life has been pretty normal lately.  So instead, here is a photo of me now that I’m 16 weeks pregnant:

Brian doesn’t really get the whole belly shot thing, but I realized that I have very few photos of when I was pregnant with Greg, and so I’m trying to do better this time around.  So this one goes out to the grandmas and other people who might care.

And just as a boost to my self-esteem, here is a photo of me at 4 weeks, just after we found out.  I’m not yet to the point where it’s immediately obvious to everyone that I’m pregnant, and I can’t feel the baby move yet, so some days it just feels like I’ve gained 10 pounds for no reason.  So this photo is to remind myself that I did, in fact, lose the baby weight before, and I can do it again (eventually…):

And because not everyone cares about my belly, here are some recent photos of my little guy, who is growing up so fast it’s ridiculous.  

The kid loves his Legos!

All ready to go play in the rain.  Yay for mud puddles!

Yes – sleeping in a twin bed.  Right now we still have his pack-n-play set up as well, and for the past week or so he has been alternating between the “big bed” and the “little bed.”  We’ve kind of been letting him choose which one he wants to sleep in and he goes back and forth.  He has been doing pretty well, although he does sometimes think it’s a fun game to sneak out of bed to see what mom and dad are doing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mending and Re-purposing

I’m so thankful that my mom taught me to sew.  When I was growing up I would always have to call her over to thread the sewing machine for me, because I could never remember how to do it between sewing projects.  But her perseverance paid off, and now I am a fairly competent seamstress.  Quilting is a new hobby, but I haven't had time for that lately. My sewing has fallen along more practical lines.  I’m no tailor, but I can do basic repairs and alterations, which has come in very handy here in PNG.
This morning I was fixing Greg’s cloth diapers.  I’m a big fan of cloth diapers, especially the BumGenius brand that we have been using.  They are great!  However, just in the past week or two, a bunch of the diapers have all begun to tear along the same spot:

My stock of useable diapers was dwindling, and so I figured I’d better do something about it if I didn’t want to start washing them every day.  I used some white flannel scraps that I had and sewed a strip that folds over the front end of the diaper, covering the part that was tearing:  

Consistent use and washing will tell how well the repair holds up, but I’m hopeful.  It’s not ideal, since it makes the inside pocket one inch smaller, but it seems like the inserts will still fit.  I admit I was really bummed that these haven’t lasted longer.  I don’t know if I got a bad batch, or if it’s the way I launder them or hanging them out in the hot tropical sun that does it.  I had hoped they would be useable for another baby, but now it looks like I’ll be trying to make them last until we get back to the States or until Greg is potty trained, whichever comes first.

I have also been re-purposing some of my old wardrobe by making maternity clothes.  It’s amazing how quickly my regular clothes have been getting to tight this second pregnancy.  (Although, I must admit that it has made it a lot easier to clean out my closet before furlough when half of my clothes no longer fit right!)

To make the maternity panel in this pair of jeans, I cut out the waistband of an old pair of stretchy workout pants that I’ve had since college.  These jeans had a broken zipper, so they were perfect for the project.

This skirt is another piece of clothing that has been with me for a long time.  I’m pretty sure I owned it before I knew Brian.  It used to be ankle-length, but last year I shortened it.  Now I altered it again, and voila!  A maternity skirt.  For this one I used a pair of maternity leggings that I found at the secondhand store for about 50 cents.  The only sad thing about this alteration is that I had to sacrifice the pockets to make it work.  Good skirts with pockets are a valuable possession when you’re a missionary.

What is the big pit for?

This big pit was recently dug on our center.  What do you think it’s going to be?  A community swimming pool?  A koi pond?

Actually, it’s going to be a new slow sand filter to help clean our water supply.  Brian’s department has been working on this project.   All of the houses here have tanks that catch rain water off of the metal roofs, and that’s what we use for drinking.  However, water is pumped from the nearby river for a lot of other uses like toilets, showers, laundry or irrigation.  The river water can be pretty muddy at times, especially when there has been a lot of rain that stirs up debris in the river.

Below is a diagram of how it will work.  The hole will be filled with a layer of gravel, then sand.  A layer of green that consists of bacteria, fungi and protozoa will grow on top of the sand, and is called the Schmutzdecke.  That is really what does a lot of the filtering.  After filtering through all three layers, the water is supposed to come out clean at the bottom.  Apparently this approach to water filtering is very common in Great Britain.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Family Photo and Announcement

We took advantage of the tripod Susan got for Christmas to take a new family photo this morning.  Greg wasn't too pleased, perhaps because we took away his toy truck for the photo.  This is the least-scowly photo that we got of him:

We also wanted to share our news - in September we'll become a family of four!  Susan is nearly 13 weeks pregnant and has been feeling great.  She's one of those lucky girls who doesn't get morning sickness.  (Feel free to hate her).  This is the photo we sent to our parents on Valentine's Day to share the news with them:

The timing works out perfectly with our furlough.  We'll arrive in Oregon July 24, have the baby mid-September, and then be able to show the new little one off in Colorado over Thanksgiving.  That's the plan at this point anyway.  As we know from past experience, flexibility is perhaps the best attribute a missionary family can have.