Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What We're Loving Wednesday!

These past few weeks have been busy!  And seeing as we're two full-time working mommas who also have been working on their Doctorate/Second Master's, that tends to eat up some of the time we used to have for blogging.  Anyway, there's always time to be thankful and to link up with Jamie and 'this kind of love' here's what we're loving this week.

[1] Snowday Cuddles.  We've had two snowdays in the past two weeks which have been bonus days to cuddle with our babies.  Or for them to snuggle together - like they did on Monday when C came to play for a little while!
Sleeping babies...aaah.

[2] Dads and babies.  A few weekends ago we all got out to Bay Harbor's Spice & Ice Festival!  Even the little peanuts liked it!

[3] SNOWSHOEING.  There's finally enough snow and we just took our first trek this past weekend.  Here's Liza afterwards.  She was perfectly content (aka sleeping) the whole time in our Bjorn carrier.

[4] A new blog design...(coming oh so soon) from The Cutest Blog on the Block!  Can't wait to get it on here!

[5] Getting back on the blogging bandwagon.  We've got some great tips and tricks to share.  Check out  our last few posts of making an adjustable crib skirt and tips for returning to work from maternity leave!

What are you loving this week?? 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adjustable Crib Skirt Tutorial

When it came time to put together Liza's nursery, we didn't want to go super-girly.  In fact, both Liza and Connor's room's color palettes could be viewed as gender neutral (L's is blue and yellow; C's is robin's egg blue and red).  I searched for some bedding, but quickly realized that I wasn't crazy about anything I could find AND that I was certainly not going to pay for bumper pads if we weren't going to use them (check out THIS article to learn more about their dangers).  So, I decided I better find some fabric and bust out the sewing machine for a crib skirt. 

This post came from my old blog, Lucky in Love, but I thought I'd leave it here for any mommas expecting a little one and wanting an easy sewing project.    Here goes...
Liza's crib and crib skirt -- yes yes we moved the blankets once she was 'actually' sleeping in there!
(from a very non-official sewer)
I had seen some no-sew crib skirts and some that took way more sewing skill than I had and I opted for somewhere right in the middle.  I think you could easily make this an almost no-sew project, though, if that's not your thing.  
I also wanted a crib skirt that could adjust when we move Liza's mattress down as she gets bigger.  I saw this post, but she didn't have the directions as to how to actually create the crib skirt.  So I started measuring and brainstorming...and before long I had an idea.  But don't expect too much, I know very little about sewing.

Here's what I came up with...

Adjustable Crib Skirt Tutorial

3.5 yards ribbon (mine was about 3/4" thick) or leftover ribbon 
2 yards fabric (just to be safe) - I only did 3 sides of my crib since one rests against the wall
Thread or Iron-on Hem Tape

{1} Measure the sides of your crib that you'll want to have a skirt hang from.  Make sure your mattress is at the highest setting.  Add an inch or two on to each width and length so you have enough for a hem.  (I worked on this while I washed my fabric to ensure it was pre-shrunk)
{2} Cut material for each panel (rather than one large piece).  Then, iron and pin a hem around each edge of the panel.  Sew these down (or use iron-on hem tape) EXCEPT for the top.
{3} Cut your ribbon into 10" strips - you'll need approximately 11 of these.  Then, fold them in half and iron at that point.  
{4} Pin three of these at the middle of the ribbon to the top of your side panels and 5 to the top of your front panel, keeping somewhat equal distance in between. (You'll be using the ribbon to tie knots, so you need to have the two ends out)

{5} Sew a hem on the top of each panel while sewing the ribbon down.
{6} Press the panels one more time before hanging.  Then, ask your husband to help you (especially if you're 8 months pregnant) tie the ribbons to the bed springs of the crib so that the crib barely grazes the floor or is slightly above - whatever you prefer.

Then, stand back and admire your work :)

This is Mocha, my brother's dog.  She was baffled by the noise of the camera.  She was also a good helper when it came to getting the crib skirt up :)

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The First Week Back to Work

Happy Monday!

The daycare drop off always seems a little tougher on Monday mornings--probably because the weekend full of snuggles, and squeaky laughs and sweet sleepy babies makes it that much harder to be away.

Today was one of those tough days. Where I want to bundle him back up in his carseat, grab a latte, and head home to do nothing but enjoy his "baby-ness", all day long. There was a mom dropping her little one off for the first time this morning. I saw her tears and felt my own eyes welling up a bit.

So, inspired by this morning's events, here are some helpful tips (at least we found them helpful!) for wrapping up maternity leave and getting ready to go back to work.

First, don't think about maternity leave ending, or going back to work, until you have to. I've had "friends" start panicking about going back to work, and their child is only a few days, or a few weeks old (and by friends, I am clearly referencing myself). C is my first baby, and during the first few weeks I would gaze down at him, and then start to wonder how I would ever be able to leave him, and then I would SOB. Uncontrollably, S.O.B.   Fortunately, and with the help of a very intuitive hubby, I realized that if I spent all of my maternity leave worrying about going back to work, I wouldn't fully enjoy my time off with my little guy. So when those thoughts of having to go back started to creep in,  I worked (really hard) to remind myself that I could worry about that later, and to enjoy the sweet buns-up kneeling munchkin napping on my chest. It actually worked! After a day or two, I barely thought about going back and it remained that way until the last week of my leave. My heightened awareness helped me to really stay in the moment and savor every little last snuggle.

Based on my own experience, here are some helpful tips:

1. Don't think about going back until you have to.

2. Go back on a Wednesday or Thursday.
 (Nat shared this one with me and if you can't do anything else - do this one!  Going back for a 3 day week definitely helped me ease back into things, figure out our routine, and not panic about having enough milk stored up)

3. Have family or close friends babysit the first week. Starting a new child care routine, leaving your little one for likely the lengthiest time yet, AND getting back into the groove at work is a LOT of change for one week. If a parent, sibling, or friend can watch the baby that first week it will be one less worry on your mind. My sister stayed with us during my first week back and it was comforting to know he was having fun with his auntie while I was away. Coming home to folded laundry and dinner in the oven was an added bonus!

4. Let yourself grieve your maternity leave. Cry, complain, what you need to. It is HARD to go back. Period.

5. Develop your own mantra. As many mamas do, I felt guilty that I was not staying home full-time. To battle this guilt, I reminded myself of the benefits of work and daycare (yes, there are some!). My internal monologue usually went something like this, "He's building a great immune system...He's socializing and learning...Our time together is truly quality time and appreciated now...We can save for college...We can go on Vacation....etc, etc."

(Erin again...I use my 'driving to work' time as a time to collect my thoughts, get ready for work and think about work stuff in general.  Then, on the way home, it's all baby time...that and getting ready for dinner.  This has been a huge help.  My first few 25 minute drives to work were horrible...way too long to think about being away from my baby)

6. Call daycare.  Check in.  See how things are going.  Trust us, they're used  to hearing from mommas on their first week back to work.  They'll be happy to fill you in.  And it might just make you feel better to know that everything is going well.

I promise, it gets easier, although (only 5 months back) I am hesitant to say it will ever get easy. While there are some (most!) days that I LOVE my job and am happy to be a working mama, there are also some days where it is a struggle to leave him in the morning, and I drive to work with wet eyes.

What are your tips for going back to work post-maternity leave?
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Monday, January 2, 2012

What We're Loving Wednesday.

With the holidays past us, there's definitely a lot for which to be thankful.  And although we loved the time off, getting back into the swing of things...and being at home is a great thing too. 

[1] Fruit & Vegetables - with all the holiday cooking, we were ready for some healthier options.  More recipe posts coming soon!

[2] Being able to spend time with family and friends over the holidays. Not to mention some quality momma-daddy-baby time!
Liza & her cousins.

[3] Baby Smiles -- spoiler alert: we have pretty cute kiddos.
Liza and Daddy.

[4] SNOW! Blizzard Warning type SNOW!  f.i.n.a.l.l.y.  I mean, we live in Northern Michigan and if it's going to be cold, we might as well have snow so we can go snowshoeing, skiing, and make snowmen!

[5] Bowl games! We're in football heaven right now!  Go Green and Go Blue!

What are you loving this week?

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