Finished!

According to my Ravelry project page, it only took me 1.5 years to complete.

To be honest, it’s not truly finished. I need to single crochet an edging. Of course, first I need to relearn how to crochet. Afraid that it wold take me another 2 years to add the edging, I called my mother-in-law to ask for help. Not only did she agree to crochet the edging, she agreed to do it while on vacation in Mexico. Isn’t she wonderful? I didn’t even have to bribe her with chocolate.

After the edging is on, I’ll give the blanket a good blocking. Then, it will be truly finished.

Of course, I’m not waiting for the banket to be completely finished before casting on a new project. My little girl NEEDS wool soakers. I have gorgeous wool just begging to be knit into a soaker. Besides the quicker I make Elly a soaker, the quicker I can start the project I’m head over heels for: Mommy and me ponchos.

Trapped Indoors

Old Man Winter dumped a foot of snow on us over the course of the last two days.

In front of our neightbor’s house, you can barely see our car sticking out of the snow. It took Dan 1.5 hours to unearth it.

Despite being stuck indoors, I’ve only managed to seam up half of the blanket. Elly’s bithday is less than a week away and this is her main gift from her Daddy and I. Ack!

On the plus side, I didn’t have to hunt down instructions on how to make a mattress stitch. I picked up the blunt sewing needle and it felt like I was riding a bike; it all came rushing back.

Cloth Diapers Become a Reality

They arrived.

Despite loving the convenience of an AIO (all-in-1 diaper) or a pocket diaper, I chose neither. My decision was based on Elly’s size. The AIO and pocket diapers I found either only went up to 35 pounds (keep in mind that Elly is already 30 pounds and not slowing down) or had reviews stating that they were snug fitting on chunky babies. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money only to find myself with the same problem a few months later: Elly outgrowing her diapers.

So I went with the old-fashioned method: prefold cloths.

There is room for growth. However, the large diaper covers are already snug on her, so I am taking Katia and Throws-Like-a-Girl’s advice.

I will knit Elly a drawer full of wool soakers. Finally, I found a project to use the gorgeous handspun wool that my MIL gifted to me. It’s so soft, perfect for touching Elly’s bare skin.

Thankfully, the pants I recently made for Elly fit over her puffy cloth diapers.

Full review of the pattern used to make the pants can be found on my sister blog.

Party Preparations

I’ve been knitting up a storm in an attempt to gift this to Elly on her birthday.

I only have 2 weeks to sew the peices together and add the stitching. (You do know what it is, right?)

To make sure the idea I stole from the Cake Boss would work, I made Rice Krispie treats today.

The cake itself will be Devil’s Food cake topped with white and red buttercream icing.

Considering Cloth Diapers

Before Elly was born, I had thought that I would try using cloth diapers once Elly was about 3 months old. That day came and I refused to give up the convenience of disposables. Everything still seemed so difficult then. I still hadn’t ventured out of the house alone with Elly. She was nursing almost every hour, allotting me very little free time. Most importantly, she made a lot of dirty diapers. I thought if I switched to cloth, I would spend every free moment in my laundry room.

A lot has changed in 8 months. I have a better handle on this Mom role and do venture out quite often with my little girl. Though Elly still nurses a lot, she can now go about 2 hours between sessions. The amount of dirty diapers has been reduced to 1 a day.

Still I probably wouldn’t consider giving up the convenience of disposables if Elly wasn’t growing out of them. She is currently wearing size 6 in Huggies and they are getting quite small.

There is no size 7. (Pampers does have a size 7, but their size 6 cut into her thigh causing her to bleed. Plus, I hate the way they smell). She would have to switch over to pull-ups. Do you know how expensive pull-ups are? They aren’t cheap. They are designed for the child who is potty training. Typically, they are worn for just a few months. Elly won’t be potty training for at least a year. I would save us money if I could give up a little convenience.

Joining the Smoothie craze

When I bought this bender a year ago, I wanted it to puree soups and to make baby food.

On Amazon, review after review talked about how great it was at blending smoothies. I found such reviews unhelpful since I was so sure that I would never use it to make smoothies. I like to eat my fruit not drink it in a straw.

I should have known to never say never.

Not only have I been bitten by the smoothie craze, but Elly is loving them also. Currently, we are enjoying a mango and orange smoothie.

Recipe: 2 mangos, the juice of 4 oranges and about 1/2 cup of yogurt.

What changed my mind? The thing that always brings me to my knees: taste. I am a sucker for good food.

On a whim, I blended up pineapple, avocado, applesauce and yogurt together. My main goal was to use up the leftover pineapple and the leftover avocado sauce in the fridge; I hate throwing out food. It was delicious! Elly kept vying for the mug I was drinking it out of. Naturally, I let her try it.

Now we’re both hooked.

Christmas is Finally Over

On Sunday, we exchanged the remaining gifts under our tree with dear friends of ours. We have been making and breaking dates with them since Black Friday. A new baby, illness and snow had required us to postpone Christmas.

Elly got a new toy to add to the mayhem in her room.

If you are going to suggest that I tuck some of her toys away and rotate them in at a later date, let me assure you that I’m way ahead of you. I purchased a toy chest right before Christmas. It’s full now. And to think next month is her birthday. I’m going to need a second chest or a bigger closet.

Planning a Party

Elly will be 1 year old next month! Our little girl is growing up.

To celebrate, we are planning the 1st of many birthday parties.

Despite my attempt to divide and conquer our families separately, we’ll be inviting everyone at once. I’m nervous about hosting such a large get-together. Our biggest party to date had only 8 guests. Even if people decline, we’re looking at four times that many people.

1) I don’t know how we’ll fit that many people in our small home.
2) I don’t have a clue what food to serve outside of cake and ice cream.
3) Do I have to decorate?

No doubt about it though, Elly is worth all the hub-bub.

In Search of Sleep

Long have I kept Elly’s sleeping habits secret. People always ask how she sleeps, but I have learned to smile sweetly and say “Great!” Why do I lie? I feel my mothering skills are in question. If Elly isn’t sleeping through the night, then I have failed to teach her how. It is all my fault.

4 months have passed since Elly starting waking up almost every hour. I am pleased to report that she is finally sleeping in longer blocks. Last night, she only woke up 4 times to nurse. Now 4 may sound like a large number to you, but when you’ve lived through nights where she woke up so many times that you ran out of fingers to count with, then 4 is amazing.

Elly was never a great sleeper even as a newborn. I remember not getting any sleep at all some nights; it was just constant nursing. Naps were no better. Elly would typically only nap for 30 minutes – 20 minutes of that time was in my arms. So, I started to look for answers.

For naps, I began laying down with her and allowing her unlimited nursing time. Finally, she started napping in consistent 1.5 hour blocks. It was heaven. Not only did Elly wake up well rested and happy as a clam, but I was getting caught up on sleep too. It was a win-win solution. Despite being assured that Elly would learn to sleep in longer blocks, unlimited nursing remains the only way I can get her to take a long nap.

At night, Elly slept next to me in a bassinet until she was 5 months old and she really didn’t fit. I had tried to move her out earlier, but she woke up too frequently for it to be a viable option. When she was only waking 3 times a night, I moved her. My little girl was growing up. I was so proud and a bit wistful.

A few weeks after the move to the crib, Elly started teething and waking frequently from the pain. I held her all night while sitting up in a chair. Four months later, I’m still sitting in that same chair. Now here’s where I’ll agree that 4 is a large number.

At first, I just tried to endure her frequent wakings certain that once the teething was over, then she would revert to her usual sleep habits. When weeks passed by with no improvement, I knew I had to do something. Despite vowing to let Elly cry it out while I was still pregnant with her, I refused to use such tactics. I can’t bear to listen to her cry. It doesn’t matter that I know she is fine. My reaction is primal. I would knock over a man as big as Ryan Howard to get to my girl when she is crying.

Instead I bought the No Cry Sleep Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley. I think I have tried every applicable solution the book lists. Elly still doesn’t sleep through the night, but many aspects of Elly’s daytime and bedtime routines have been improved.

Solutions implemented:
1. Daytime routine (Elly eats and sleeps about the same time everyday now)
2. Consistent naps (Elly takes 2 naps a day)
3. Increase daytime feeding (not really applicable since I have been blessed with a good eater, but I do encourage more snacking in between meals)
4. Complete darkness
5. White noise
6. Earlier bedtime (I aim for a 7-8 bedtime)

Such common sense solutions they are that I’m embarrassed it took me so long. I had been nursing Elly on demand. She seemed to know what she needed, so I let her lead the way in sleep. Perhaps a baby-led system works great for some babies, but it didn’t work with Elly. Perhaps more accurately, it didn’t work for me.

As stated above, Elly still doesn’t sleep through the night despite all my hard work and middle-of-the-night pleading. So, we’ve packed up the crib. I’ve put my foot down and refused to spend 1 more night sleeping sitting up in a chair. Enough is enough. I’ve tried it the “right” way. Now we’re doing it my way. Beginning a few days ago, Elly sleeps with us now. It’s the easiest solution. She wakes up, I sooth her and/or nurse her and we’re all back to sleep in mere minutes – sometimes seconds.

I guess my answer won’t change at all. Should anybody ask how Elly sleeps, I shall continue to say “great!”.