Posts made in January, 2014

Babywearing, and how it has improved our lives

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Kid Stuff | 0 comments

Babywearing pretty much means that I really “wear” my baby. This is essentially having your baby somehow attached onto your body.  I’m pretty sure women have been doing this forever. I have to wear Sirenita because she demands it. I am so thankful that I found some babywearing tools that are comfortable all day. A lot of people have heard of Bjorn and Moby, and maybe even Ergo, but there is a whole GIANT world of babywearing options out there that goes way beyond these. My early babywearing experiences were not great. I learned a lot and wore PrincessSpitfire and Sirenita, and it has been so wonderful. My favorite are “German Style Woven Wraps.”  There are many different brands – Didymos, Storchenwiege, Vatanai, Natibaby, Neobulle, Bebina, Heartiness, Uppymama, Oscha, BBSlen, Wrapsody (used to be Gypsy Mama and is also commonly called Bali Breeze or GMBB)…it goes on and on. There are also ring sling brands, such as Maya Wrap, Comfy Joey, Psling, Sakura Bloom, and lots of wrap sling conversions made from the woven wrap makers. Sleeping Baby Productions does those in different styles and everyone has their personal preference for the shoulder style and tail length. Anyway, a stretchy wrap like a Moby (or a Sleepywrap or “Boba Wrap”) is pretty nice when you have a newborn and the weather is cool. They’re longer than most non-stretchy woven wraps, usually wider, and almost always hotter, so that turns some people off to wrapping. Woven wraps are really different and (I think) are much nicer. A woven wrap can support a heavy toddler, can be much cooler and shorter, and allows you to carry your baby on your back or hip safely. There are so many different carries. I learned most of mine on Youtube. I started out with a Moby and did what’s called “Front Wrap Cross Carry.” Then I quickly moved on to woven wraps. The “Front Cross Carry” was easiest for me because you can put the wrap on, then take the baby in and out without having to re-tie. EARLY BABYWEARING EXPERIENCES My early experiences with babywearing were pretty terrible. With TheBarbarian I had a Bjorn. When TheBarbarian hit 10 pounds, which I think was at like three weeks old, the Bjorn became SO UNCOMFORTABLE. Take two sacks of flour and dangle them from your shoulders by two narrow straps. Yeah, it felt like that. I had a horrible bag sling which got recalled, too. And a hip hammock. All of it was so uncomfortable that I gave up. I’d heard of Ergo but they seemed soooo expensive and I thought it wouldn’t be better than the Bjorn (wrong). After I had PrincessSpitfire, I decided to try babywearing again. We are busy people, and our babies are the type who like to be entertained. I was too cheap to buy a woven wrap at first, and there are no stores near me that carry them. I tried with a bedsheet, which was ridiculous and made me decide that wrapping was not going to be for me. I found a Bjorn-like contraption in a second-hand store and tried it. It was fine until the baby hit 10 pounds, and then was horrible. Then, at Target, I chanced upon a clearance pouch sling and tried it out. It was great! Who would ever have believed that a simple o-shaped piece of cloth could be so comfortable? I carried that crabby little PrincessSpitfire around with me everywhere! She wasn’t crabby! She smiled at everyone in her little Buddha-baby froggy-legged position! We made our first family-of-four-overnight-trip when we went...

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Family Photo Drama

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I like to get a lot of family photos. After having the third child, most of our family photos get taken in the basement with a cheap light setup and a decent camera. My photoshop skills have become adequate, so I can fix small lighting errors. I can’t go to the actual professional photo place very often because of the impossibility of getting everyone ready and not in a crabby mood at the same time.  Actually…I haven’t taken the kids in since Sirenita was 6 months old. That means the last time I went was over a year ago. This is some kind of record for me. This is why I haven’t been back. Since Sirenita was 6 months old and we hadn’t been to the portrait studio since just after she was born, I figured I’d better get in there. (I took TheBarbarian almost monthly during his first year. Don’t get me started on having no baby photos of the third child). Portrait Innovations is pretty close to us and can usually schedule us in the same day, and I usually spend around $100-$150 there, for a boatload of pictures. This time, somehow they must have thought that I have $$$money$$$ because Portrait Innovations tried to get me to spend $600 on photos that were #1, not that great, and #2, for no special occasion. $600! I can understand this amount of money for actual skilled professional photographers. These people are not on that level. Can I admit that I didn’t pay $600 on my own wedding photos? And my wedding photos were done by a fantastic professional photographer, and they’re really well done. Portrait innovations was already on my “naughty list” because of how they treated my kids last time we went. I’ve been there lots of times before and it was always good, so I was willing to give them another shot. After Sirenita was born, ALL I WANTED was a family photo. Sure, I’d buy pics of baby Sirenita by herself, and more of the other kids, but the family photo was most important. I told the photographers that what was really important to me was to get a picture of all five of us because Sirenita was a week old. The photographers wasted a bunch of precious non-crabby-children-time with solo photos of SpitfirePrincess and TheBarbarian. The solo photos were horrible because the photogs did not know how to work with children (seriously, who tries to spend several minutes posing a one year old?).  I tried to tell them that my kids were not going to pose, but they assured me that they “do this all the time.” I knew then that the pictures would be horrible. We did one family pose that last time, and it was a horrible mess of a photo. I looked at the photos on the giant tv and wanted to cry (at least I have the excuse that I was a week postpartum). I could not bring myself to buy even one family photo. There wasn’t one that I wouldn’t have felt humiliated by having someone see it. They were that bad. We looked like stray toys randomly strewn over a bench. There were some pictures of the kids that turned out ok, ONLY because I had finally intervened and told the photographers what to do. I didn’t want to be a bossy lawyer, but it’s not like I could just go back a week later to take Sirenita’s “one week old” baby pictures! I think by then Spitfire and TheBarbarian had exhausted them, and they were willing to...

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DIY Mei Tai Pattern – 19

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in mei tai pattern | 12 comments

Pic 86, 87 – Adjusting the Elastic. You can adjust it as small as the fabric will bunch. Pull the elastic through, then button the elastic twice. I have tried to show how I fold it over. I do this with my kid’s pants, too. If you do not want to use buttons and buttonhole elastic, you could use elastic cord and toggles. When the elastic is adjusted, you poke all of it back through the buttonhole, and it doesn’t really show because of the color of the thread I used, and because of the placement of the buttonholes. You could put all the buttonholes on the inside panel so that they would not show at all, but I thought it would be nicer for the baby to not be next to the buttonholes all the time. I used diaper snaps to secure the hood straps up, but I don’t like how it worked, although it is functional. You can sew a couple of small pieces onto the wrap straps – Put the whole thing on and have someone help you mark where you want them, then just sew them on. I will probably change mine over to that way. Or, do it how you’d like. Done! And you know that you would love to visit some of the sites that inspired this – Blogs/DIY Sites:WrapMeiTai, Hipababy, ThoseMartins, Jan Andrea’s FrankenKozy, HoboMama, A Fuller Day, Fine and Fair, BecomingMamas.  Commercial Makers: Topatop, ObiMama, Ocah, ZanyToes, OpiTai, Wearababy, Bamberoo, Madame GooGoo, Kanaluti, and Earthy...

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DIY Mei Tai Pattern – 18

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in mei tai pattern | 2 comments

Pic 80, 81, 82 – Sink the body of the Mei Tai inside the waistband and sew. I sewed several lines across the top where the two pieces join together. Check both sides to be sure it looks good on both sides. Then finish doing the rest of the topstitching lines, or if you didn’t do topstitching, just sew across a few times to attach securely. I felt like this was enough reinforcement. Pic 83 – It’s all done ! The Horizontal pattern side (the main outside for me, with the buttonholes).  Pic 84 – All Done, Vertical Side Pic 85 – Scrunchable hood And you know that you would love to visit some of the sites that inspired this – Blogs/DIY Sites:WrapMeiTai, Hipababy, ThoseMartins, Jan Andrea’s FrankenKozy, HoboMama, A Fuller Day, Fine and Fair, BecomingMamas.  Commercial Makers: Topatop, ObiMama, Ocah, ZanyToes, OpiTai, Wearababy, Bamberoo, Madame GooGoo, Kanaluti, and Earthy...

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DIY Mei Tai Pattern – 17

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in mei tai pattern | 0 comments

Pic 75 – With it pinned, clip fleece a bit more if needed, then stitch everywhere but the part that meets the body (except the corners you marked). Pic 75a – Turn it right side out. This is turned and I had already started topstitching. You don’t have to topstitch at all. On the Minnie Mouse Mei Tai I just used some Xboxes to reinforce the waist straps. Pic 76, 77 – Topstitch. You could do any design, but I felt like this one was easiest. I just started at the bottom, put the edge of the presser foot at the edge of the fabric, put the needle all the way to the left, and sewed, keeping the edge of the presser foot at the edge of the fabric. To make the next line, I kept the edge of the presser foot against the last topstitch line and the needle in the same left position as before. Repeat. Do NOT sew all the way to the top – you need to leave room to sink the body of the Mei Tai into the waistband. I sewed one line too much and had to backtrack a little. Pic 78, 79 – Press the top of the waistband in. Fold the edges in towards the padding, and press. You may have to trim a tiny bit of the waist ties that are inside there, and that’s ok. And you know that you would love to visit some of the sites that inspired this – Blogs/DIY Sites:WrapMeiTai, Hipababy, ThoseMartins, Jan Andrea’s FrankenKozy, HoboMama, A Fuller Day, Fine and Fair, BecomingMamas.  Commercial Makers: Topatop, ObiMama, Ocah, ZanyToes, OpiTai, Wearababy, Bamberoo, Madame GooGoo, Kanaluti, and Earthy...

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