Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DIY Seedling Pots

We did a gardening project the other day.  I had this idea that we could make our own seedling pots.  I thought it would be a fun, semi-educational activity.  Problem is I'm not to well versed in the art of origami or any kind of folding/diagram type of thing.  I looked at a few blogs to get ideas and assumed I could follow directions, figure it out and then incorporate P in the process.  It took me well over an hour to try a few different concepts.  Thank God P was entertained making a fairy house. She came over,  took all my failed attempts, and used them in her house. She was so sweet reassuring me that my failures were wonderful.   

In the end we used egg crates from Whole Foods, used toilet paper rolls and a few folded newspaper cups.  The newspaper cups took a while to do and I didn't find them to be very useful.  They were too narrow, regardless of the size of newspaper I used.  I don't know, the folded options were too time consuming for my taste specially when there are easier, better choices right in my kitchen and bathroom! 

Here were the blogs I sourced. Maybe the problem is my lack of folding ability, not the cups themselves. 

You Grow Girl
How Stuff Works
The Three Cheeses

Minestrone Soup on a sick day.

P was home from school with an on-going fever all day. I am also sick.  The only food I crave when I'm sick is homemade basic food and lots of fresh fruit and veggies.  I'm really not a fan of minestrone soup, but I had 2 heads of cabbage to use up.  Then when I read this recipe it sounded so soothing I had to try it.  It was wonderful and a baguette made it perfect.   

Baby Quilt Maps

Dave is a location scout.  Even despite what he does for a living, Dave loves maps.  This is so up his alley.  He really loved these sweet baby quilts.  I actually love London, Paris or NY more than LA.  I'm keeping this in mind for a Father's Day gift.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easing My Guilt

 I've fallen into an after school routine with P for the last few weeks. She comes home from school, eats, naps, watches tv, eats, goes to bed.  It's so lame I can't stand it!  However, I'm giving myself a break because I'm at the end of my pregnancy and I'm exhausted and in pain.  

Today I hit 38 weeks and I seem to have gotten a second wind. I've been having contractions almost daily. In fact, this morning I woke up to them, but I've gotten myself to think of the pain as a good thing, and it is. It's better to feel the pain gradually and to open up slowly than to have it all happen at once.  I'm also hoping the longer the pain now the shorter it will be at time of delivery. I can only hope.

With my second wind I felt I should do more with P.  She's been talking about planting a garden for a while. Last week we bought seeds at Target.  I was amazed she understood I didn't want to buy their seeds because they weren't organic. She said "let's get flower seeds, we don't eat them".  She's getting so many concepts that aren't spelled out for her. She's having to connect the dots and I think she's doing it quite well.  

Then over the weekend I looked for DIY seedling cups to make. I made a few different varieties that I'll discuss and source later. So today we finally planted our seeds.

After that P wanted to paint so she painted outside. The weather was a bit chilly but it was sunny and beautiful and she wanted to be outside.  Her art classes at LACMA have changed the way she paints.  She is using different brush stroke techniques and the way she looks at her work is different. Things are changing in that head of hers.  

Doing all of this eased my guilt of letting her plop down on the couch and watch tv for the rest of the afternoon.  I can't do it all right now. I'm praying after the baby is born and I give it a few weeks I'll have my full energy again and be more available to P.  I miss our outings.  But on the other hand, my lack of energy and large body size is nature's way of easing me into the juggle of two. 

We did one last baking project before dinner. After, I should have known something was up when P wanted to go to bed instead of having dessert.  Turns out she has a fever. The end to our brilliant day. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Basta / It's Not Enough

There is a Spanish song by Franco De Vita that has stayed with me for decades. It's called "No Basta", which means "It's not Enough".  It's about parenting.  There's a verse in particular that I think about almost daily, specially now that I am a parent:
"No basta
con creer ser un padre excelente
porque eso te dice la gente
a tus hijos nunca les falta nada"

It says "it's not enough to think you're an excellent parent, because that's what people tell you, because your children never need anything."

People tell me I'm a good parent quite often. And I do feel proud to hear it and even prouder when friends come to me for advice on what books to read or products to buy or classes to take.  But I think of this song every time I hear "you're such a great parent".  Today and thirty years from now the only opinion that will really matter is P's. What's her opinion of my parenting skills?   And even harder is how do I know if I'm doing a good job. Kid's don't give us a report card. They may feel bad about something we do but from feeling to putting that into words and directing it at us is not a skill that comes about until they're in their teens...or 30's on a therapist's couch.

I have a lot of goals for the life I want for P but when I scrape it all back there are two essential qualities I'm trying to build. I want her to have self-confidence and happiness.  I think if I can preserve and build those two characteristics then I haven't stamped out her essence. 

The picture above gave me a glimpse into how P feels about herself.  I took it at ballet this week.  I see both happiness and pride in herself.  I didn't catch her expression during class. It was after, when I was looking through the pictures that I saw it many times. This one picture happens to captivate it all perfectly.  

For this week, this is my report card on how I'm doing as a parent.  I've recently felt I'm doing a horrible job. Being 36 weeks pregnant I'm tired, uncomfortable, a little stressed and frustrated. I'm frustrated I can't do the things I know P needs. My patience is low.  I've mustered up some good days but I've felt it wasn't enough.  And then I saw the picture.  Phew, her essence is still there.  And I feel good about the weekend and week ahead. I've got something to continue to build upon. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Good Year

The beauty of having a second or third child is that you know EXACTLY what you're in for.  I now know that a baby can sleep through a good portion of the night but I may be up pumping because my boobs are hurting so bad.  I now know I'll probably be house bound for the first few weeks as we try to settle in a routine.  

I hated the Baby Whisperer btw!  That book was useless and horrible for me.  I believe if you have the patience a schedule will evolve but to implement a schedule onto a being who's life is about needs not wants just seems insane to me. My 2 cents worth.

Anyway, and I now know what can make those middle of the night feedings or pumpings so much more enjoyable.  Dave and I were hooked on the movie "A Good Year" with Russell Crowe. I've watched it probably close to 20 times!  Late at night when I was up alone, hooked up to the pump like a cow,  I would turn the movie on and escape to the south of France.  It wasn't just the scenery. It was the dialogue, the characters, everything!   I just ordered it on DVD. Four years ago we had it DVRed so it disappeared at one point. I hope it has the same magical effect for us this time around.  

I'm also praying this baby sleeps as much as P did. P had 5-7hr sleeping sessions pretty much from the start. I only remember one night of being up for hours as she cried and cried. I finally turned on a light and saw that she had a rash all over her body.  Cool wash cloths calmed her down, reduced the redness and she went back to sleep.  To this day I am grateful for P's ability to sleep well and to sleep through anything.  

These are some of the images that make me love this movie so much:

Images from IMDB

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prepping P for Baby G

As the time gets closer to my due date I've sensed P getting more anxious.  She's always been excited, eager and thrilled to have a sibling but the reality of it all is starting to hit. 

Last week we did the sibling tour at the hospital.  It was amazing to watch her take in all the information when watching the video.  We got to see a newborn through the window of the nursery and she was very excited. P said "that's the cutest thing I've ever seen". The process was definitely a great step towards her knowing what to expect when I go into labor

P has said some very interesting things in the last few weeks.  I have made the mistake of asking "are you excited for your baby sister".  It dawned on me that I was putting the emotion into her mind instead of letting her say what she is feeling.  So, I asked her "how do you feel about your baby sister coming?".  She replied "I just don't know. I'm excited but I've never had a baby before so I just don't know."  I thought her reply was so insightful.  I admitted to her that I had never thought of her perspective until then. I was seeing it from our eyes, Dave's and mine, and we've had a baby before. I completely forgot she had not been through the experience. Her concern almost seemed like the worry of a first time parent.  It was amazing.  

Another time I asked P if she had any worries or concerns about having a sister. She said "I'm worried I'm going to lose all the attention.". Again, I'm blown away by her ability to articulate her feelings so clearly.  I told her that she might not get as much attention as she gets now. However, she will always have my attention when she needs it. I asked her to remind me when she needs me and to always feel free to say "mom I need your attention".  It calmed her down.   

Every morning when we wake up I tell her she will always be my first born and that is a special place in my heart. I remind her that she is the one who made me a mother and Dave a father.  I hug her and kiss her and tell her she is very special to me and always will be. There is no one else in the world like her. She is my P.  I tell her this every day.  I can tell it's having a positive effect. She beams when I tell her these special words.  Her anxiety seems to be less about her role and more about what is taking so darn long.  I'm feeling almost as anxious as she is.  We have four weeks to go. I wish it was tomorrow, but I do want baby G to incubate as long as possible for her well-being.

I now have non-stress tests (NST) to do twice a week at the hospital. It's worked out that one of them I can schedule while she's at school but the second always seems to be in the afternoons so I have to bring her with me.  They take about an hour and so far P has been very patient.  I bring the ipad and snacks with me to make the experience a little more interesting for her.  I'm glad she is getting the opportunity to come with me because she is becoming familiarized with the hospital, nurses and rules.  And the nurses are also getting to know her. They've been very kind and helpful and always compliment her on her patience and help.  It's been a great experience all around so far.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Necklaces

I wish I could take credit for all my creative ventures.  My secret is that I'm addicted to reading blogs!  There are women, mothers who are amazing.  I just came across Flax & Twine via Design Mom.  I was looking to get P something special for Valentine's Day.  These necklaces were just perfect and what's even better is I could make them for her!  Dave had a last minute day off yesterday so we both went to Michael's to get supplies.  I'm so glad because it made him part of the process.

Instructions to make the necklaces can be found here.  Per P's request I used buttons to secure them at the end instead of tying them off.  

P is feeling cool with her new necklaces and a new outfit.   I ordered this tee and pants from The Mini Social weeks ago and they arrived today so we came off as super champs!  Phew, love it when things work out like that!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why I bake P's Birthday Cakes

I've been meaning to write about this since P's birthday in November.  I'm finally sitting here at my computer and I remembered!!!!

P had an "under the sea/Aerial" birthday theme this year.  I made her cake as usual. It dawned on me this time around why baking her cake is so important to me.  The fondest memory I have of my dad is the last time he came out to visit us.  He was in his last stages of cancer and he made the HUGE effort of flying out for P's birthday.  He flew out from Florida in late November and died in mid January.  That's how far along he was. 

P turned 2 that year.  Her birthday theme was monkeys so I made her a monkey cake.  It was the first time I took the task on myself. I'm not good with icing and yet the cake turned out quite amazing.  I was up till 2am making the thing and my dad stayed up with me.  He sat at the dinner table, next to the kitchen patiently watching. At the time I thought what else does he have to do. Now I know he must have been in a  lot of pain and yet he stayed. When I was done I was so proud of myself and I kept saying "you can't believe what an accomplishment this is for me".  For the very first time in my life I saw the look of pride on my dad's face. He was proud of me for doing something that meant a lot to me.  My dad had never supported any of my interest.  The feeling was amazing and I think it was a new one for both of us.

Since then I swear I can feel my dad when I'm cooking late at night.  When everyone has gone to bed and it's just me and my ingredients I feel he's there, sitting, watching me.  The following year I made a big butterfly cake for P and I felt him subconsciously.  It wasn't until this year that I actually looked forward to a night of baking and I finally figured out why.  It's our annual reunion. 

I will bake P's cakes for as long as I can.  Dave has offered to buy them knowing how much I try to take on for each birthday.  But I told him I'll outsource the food, do the party at another venue but the cake is off limits.  The cake is a way for our entire family, the one living and the one who has passed, to celebrate and stay together. And for me, it's like I get to feel again like I did that night.  I get to feel my father be proud of me. That night of baking was the only time I ever sensed my dad's pride. He never said the words: "I'm proud of you" to me.

These are pictures of P's birthday cakes.  I'm proud of all of them and I think my dad is to.

2nd Birthday: Monkey theme. Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting

My dad with P and me the morning after her party. If you've ever known anyone with cancer you'll recognize the hat. 

3rd Birthday: Chinese theme with a butterfly red-velvet cake

4th Birthday: Aerial/Under the Sea. Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

35 Weeks Preggo and Wearing...

Yesterday I went into Target to buy a $2 item and walked out with $90 worth of clothes.  Two maternity outfits for me and one shirt for Dave.  I have 5 weeks to go and have plenty of maternity clothes but sometimes it really helps to feel beautiful.  For me that means wearing clothes that make me feel good.  

The purchase prompted me to take pictures of some of my outfits.  I've been trying to do this for weeks but there's always something else more important to do: dinner, laundry, etc or I'm just too tired.  Well, the house is a mess and there's meals to be made but this is more important today. I only have 5 weeks to go and then if all goes according to plan I'll never be pregnant again. I'll never see my body like this again. This is more important.

Dress by Asos Maternity. One of my first purchases once I was past the first trimester.
One of yesterday's purchases. Liz Lange for Target. I've been wanting a striped, side-rouched dress. My favorites being from Isabella Oliver but I never got the gumption to fork over that kind of cash for a temporary wardrobe item.  This dress satisfied my desire for $25. To be honest, I love it for pictures but my butt does not look good from the back with all those stripes. I think I'm carrying the weight well but I'm not a petite girl. I wore the dress this morning to drop P off at school but I wore it with a wrap that covered my butt.  

Not a maternity dress. It's from H&M their regular line. Have loved wearing this sweater dress pregnant, and actually I don't think it looks that great on me when not pregnant.   I wanted to get a silver sparkly belt for the holidays but couldn't find one that fit me. 

Top from Liz Lange for Target. Yoga pants from Lucy, regular not maternity. Can only get away with it if the top is long enough. My favorite yoga pants have been from Pea in the Pod

 The second purchase from yesterday.  Liz Lange for Target. Love the fabric. Dave liked this one better than the stripped one.

Tee from Target not maternity. 
Wrap from Anthropology non maternity. Shorts from Liz Lange for Target. 

Top from Anthropology not maternity. Shorts from Liz Lange for Target. I love when I find a shirt that is not maternity but works throughout my pregnancy and beyond.  This is one of my favorite tops. I know because I find myself photographed in it all the time.   

Top from Banana Republic, not maternity. Shorts Liz Lange for Target.