Little Sister

Little Sister

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Yarn: Bernat Cot’n’Soft (discontinued) Cotton
Needles: 4.5mm
Ravelry: Louisa’s Little Sister

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This project came about when I tried to find something to do with some discontinued yarn that I’d been gifted a while ago. I had one skein of each colour, so I had to find something small and receptive to colour blocking. I had thought about making stripes, but I was worried I’d run out of one colour or another, and I didn’t feel like doing a whole lot of math to figure out my yardage.

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Besides, I had this idea of making an ombre-esque dress that that went from dark to light, and the cutie bows were part of my original idea for it. I love turquoise and yellow together, and I think the colours here really make this dress.

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Little Sister is an easy no-sew pattern, and aside from a few gauge issues that had me starting over THREE times, this came together relatively quickly.

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Louisa wore the dress for her first birthday, and I think it’s perfectly fitting, since she actually IS a little sister!!!

<3 <3 <3

Happy First Birthday, Louisa!

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Louisa’s first birthday was this past Saturday. Leading up to the day, I got all weepy and sentimental about it – remembering that hectic night in the freezing cold; about how I was in denial that I was actually in labour (I was on all fours in the bathroom from the pain of a contraction and Ange suggested we page our midwife – and I thought he was being a bit premature! Ha!); about clutching the street signs as a contraction tore through me on the walk from the car to the entrance of the hospital. It was a wild night, and though this year’s weather was a lot milder, I’ll never forget the winter freeze Louisa was born into.

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The day before her birthday, I raced around doing all kinds of errands, the most important of which was to get a couple of foil balloons for the kiddos. (Nico has learned a lot of lessons about sharing and taking turns in this past year, and while the focus was very much on Louisa for her big day, I knew I wanted to acknowledge him in a small way too. Nothing like a Thomas balloon to make a kid feel like a million bucks!)

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep him from getting a fever a couple of hours before the party, so he spent most of the afternoon in bed, poor boy.

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But Louisa was the queen of the day, and I managed to finish her party dress in the knick of time!! Phewf. Separate post on the knitting coming up!

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I put up streamers and had her photo-a-week wall, and that was pretty much it for decorations. Louisa loved the photos. She would look up at them, point to them, and stare at them for a long time and really take them in. It must be quite something to see a series of photos of yourself all up on a wall together.

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The guests arrived at around 3pm, and we had a few snacks and ordered a party pizza. Easy peasy. She was happy to have all of her favourite people there (though her cousin and godparents were missed – they’re on vacation, lucky goats).

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Presents were kept to a minimum, which might be a symptom of having a birthday so close to Christmas. I’ll have to keep an eye on that to make sure that she and Nico get equivalent stashes in future years.

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The cake was great, and she happily squished it through her fingers and onto her face. Some of it made it into her mouth, but really, that’s not the point, is it?

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Once the party goers left, we all sank into a state of tired contentment. Our babies played together while we snacked on leftovers, and we smiled at each other that we’ve crossed this big milestone for the last time in our little family. Our two kids are amazing, and seeing Louisa grow and develop just makes my heart sing. Gone is my baby, but who can be sad when such an incredible child stands there in her place!

Louisa: Week 51 / Christmas 2014

Well, Louisa sure knows how to end things with a bang! For this, her last weekly update before she turns the big 0-1, she celebrated her first Christmas. This time last year I was SO PREGNANT (her due date was Boxing Day) and I didn’t think the holidays could be more tiring!

Oh how I was wrong…

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Nah, it was fine, though a bit hectic as we had to drive a bit more than usual this year. On Christmas Eve Eve, my father and brother came over for dinner and presents; then on Christmas Eve we celebrated with Angelo’s parents first, and then off to my extended family on my dad’s side till late in the night; then on Christmas Day we had a small moment at home with presents under our own tree before heading to my Mom’s for the morning and Angelo’s Nonna’s for dinner. We celebrated with my step-family a few days later. Though there was a lot of visiting, I refuse to complain about having SO MUCH of our family in town. ♥

The kids got some great gifts: lots of Thomas gear, playfood, puzzles, books, and a few fun toys. Nico got a camera, which I’m super stoked about (though it may take him a year or two to fully appreciate it) and Louisa got a jewelry box (which is beautiful and I’m not so secretly jealous! haha).

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Louisa also received a couple of dolls. She took to them quite naturally, but then a day or two later, it was Nico who picked one up and he hasn’t let go since. He tries his best to care for the baby, and he’s named her “Baby Sister”. At one point he came over to me and said: “You have to sing a song for Baby Sister, she had a nightmare.” Adorable!!

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This year, my mom and her friend MADE a dress for Louisa, and it turned out so beautiful. Blue velvet, with matching patent leather shoes and white stockings. Come ON!

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Of course, we had an outfit change before the food came out – here’s my baby bean pole:

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More Christmas pics: (Of course, like every year, I didn’t take half as many photos as I would’ve liked. My hands are just too full, I guess…)

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Nico opens a gift as Louisa looks on. Notice they’re both squatting the exact same way.

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Perhaps my favourite ornament? Nico’s handprint turned snowmen.

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Sometimes presents are too beautiful to open right away.

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Nico watches The Polar Express while Louisa and Papa catch some zzzz’s.

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Our improvised tree topper. I like that we don’t have a proper one, because finding things to put atop the tree every year seems like as good a family tradition as any!

Merry Christmas everyone, and wishing great things to all for 2015! xo

Louisa: Week 50

Unfortunately, we were all hit with a nasty head cold this week. Even Angelo, who usually is immune to any bug that railroads the rest of us, was feeling low and achy with a sore throat and cough. So it wasn’t the funnest week in the world, because being sick just plain sucks.

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We stayed close to home, though we tried to get a bit of fresh air everyday. Check out Nico and Angelo’s Thomas snow sculpture!

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Louisa had a big week nonetheless. Both she and Nico seemed to have matured and *grown* this past week. I’ll never understand why many weeks can go by without a noticeable change, and then all of a sudden a surge of development happens, but that seems to be the way things go. So here’s a rundown:

Communication: Louisa turned a corner in her communication this week. All of a sudden she put together her pointing skills, her grunting skills, and her intonation and facial expressions so that she can full-on “talk” to us. She spends a lot of her time pointing things out to us and going “ugh ugh” with her eyes bright and her mouth in an O. It’s amazing to see her so engaged to her world and to us, and we’ve made a big effort to name whatever she’s pointing at so that she can start associating the words with their likeness. I also feel like she’s getting a better grasp on the nuances of facial expressions and body language. She conveys so much more meaning now than she ever did before.

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Movement: Louisa has tried to do like her brother on a couple of occasions this, which have resulted in tremendous tumbles and a few bumps and scrapes. The worst was when she tried to climb atop his wooden step stool, and she made it to the top but then fell right off, clipping her chin along the way. Ouch! Other than that she’s getting better at climbing those stairs, and I’ve taught her how to scootch back down them again. With a bit more practice, she’ll be a pro at both.

Breastfeeding / Food: Louisa still nurses pretty much on command, pretty much round the clock. She also eats lots of foods, and I’m always so struck by how easy it is to feed her. One thing to note is that we got rid of the high chair a few weeks ago and it’s been great. She now sits in Nico’s old booster seat (which has a strap) and Nico got a new “minimalist” booster that he really likes. It’s way easier for him to get off and on, and having Louisa at table level is really lovely.

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Sleep: Louisa is not a sound sleeper. She wakes frequently, needs a lot of comforting, and prefers to sleep in our bed with us than alone in her room. These are facts. When we “sleep trained” Nico all those months ago, I remember thinking how awful it was, how much it took out of us to sit there in his room for 90+ minutes “shh’ing” and singing lullabies until my throat was bone dry and my arm was numb from rubbing his back through the slats of the crib. I remember thinking that I would never have evenings to myself ever again, that I felt like a hostage in my child’s bedroom, there against my will and unable to leave. I also remember thinking “I can’t ever go through this again” and consoled myself with the thought that the second child would most certainly be a better sleeper.

Ha, jokes on me. We’re back in that awful “hostage” phase, where we can’t do anything between the hours of 7 and 10pm because we’re busy putting the baby down to sleep. The location is different (our bed vs. the crib) but the scenario is basically the same.

(side note: With Nico, he was way more wiling to sleep in his crib (and actually slept much more soundly in his own bed than he ever did in ours). If Nico had Louisa’s distaste for her crib we never would have forced him in there or anything. We followed his cues and we comforted for as long as was needed for him to sleep peacefully. We used the term ‘sleep training’ veerrrrry loosely)

Anyway, I know that I can’t let my kids cry it out. I tried. With both of them, and it just wasn’t something I could do. And so I resign myself to waiting. Waiting for Louisa to learn how to sleep through the night on her own, at her own pace. In the meantime, we’ll be there for her when we’re needed, and we’ll comfort her when she asks.

In my heart and my gut I know I’m doing the right thing, that I’m laying a foundation of trust and well-being in her that will enable her to move to her bedroom with confidence and self-assurance when she’s ready.

And if experience taught me anything, it’s that this too, my dear friends, shall pass.

Louisa: Weeks 48 & 49

Week 48

Unfortunately, week 48 was rough. There were a lot of tears, a lot of clinginess, a lot of foul moods. Louisa wasn’t sleeping very well at night (what else is new) and during the day she was moody, inconsolable, and she would chase me around the house, trying desperately to grab hold of my legs and try to pull herself up into my arms. I indulged her as much as I could, but it’s tough with busy Nico underfoot as well.

Week 49

IMG_1519Early in the week, Louisa’s top left incisor poked through her gum, and we were granted a couple of days peace. But the pesky right incisor was taking its time, and it caused a lot of crying this week, too. Poor Louisa. Teeth are tough, but it seems this girl is even more sensitive to it than her brother was, if that’s possible.

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But there were some highlights to the week as well. For one, Louisa magically learned to climb the stairs, and she hasn’t stopped doing it since. We were at Angelo’s parents’ house on the weekend, and as she walked over to the stairs, we both said: “Don’t worry, she doesn’t know how to climb them.” and then she proceeded to make a liar out of us both and made her way up the stairs like she’d been doing it forever!! Ha. So now our days are filled with watching her “run” to the stairs, giggling maniacally, and letting her get to the top before going up there to bring her back downstairs. I’m average 15-20 flights of stairs a day (gotta get your exercise in however ya can!! haha).

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I also think that she’s going through a growth spurt. It seems like she’s taller now: she can reach a few ledges that she couldn’t before and I’ve had to retire a bit more of her clothes. Also, her shoe size jumped up, so that I ended up buying a pair of boots that don’t even fit her (grr… Second hand, but still, what a waste). Getting bigger is awesome in a lot of ways, not the least of which because it means she can interact so much more with her big brother without getting knocked around so much. And when they chase each other, she’s fast enough now that she can actually chase him. I still wish that Nico would let up on some of his roughhousing, but for the most part he’s pretty sweet to her.

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that hair tho

When she cries (which has been happening a lot lately) he’ll run into the playroom, find a toy (usually one she’s been interested in lately) and try to console her with it. It’s super cute.

Louisa seems more grown up in her play, as well. She’s really into playing these days, and it’s nice to see her gravitate towards certain toys or objects. Of course, the Tupperware drawer is a big hit, but so is the play kitchen and toy trains. Uh oh, I can see more boundary setting in my future!

Louisa’s new thing is that she will offer up a toy to me or Ange, and then ask for it back (by holding out her hand). It’s really cute, and she’ll do it over, and over, and over again. She’s also been sticking her tongue out a lot. I don’t know if that has anything to do with teeth, but it’s pretty darn cute too.

Well… Can you believe I only have two more weekly posts to do, and then we’ll be onto the monthly ones for her second year of life?! It seems to have gone by SO FAST this time around. I look at my big tall baby and think, “aren’t you still supposed to be my babe in arms?” To see her with so many skills to get along on her own (despite her intense clinginess) is fascinating and shocking.

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Oh, one final thought: the other day I got ready to breastfeed her, and I realized that I was really bracing myself for it. Then I realized that, without notice or fanfare, we’d entered the “toddler nursing” phase. She is no longer a passive baby gently suckling at my breast. Oh no, we’ve got full-on nursing gymnastics going on, and biting. She’s bitten me quite a few times, which sucks. I’m blaming it on teething, because it seems to be more rampant when she’s about to get new teeth. But it makes me shudder that we’ve only got 6 teeth, with 14 more to go… Yikes!