Louisa: 14 months

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Moving:
We had our first tumble down the stairs, and oh did my heart just stop for a second! She was climbing up quickly, because my mom and I were watching her, and in a moment of pride, she twisted her body around to flash us a smile, and the momentum took her over and she fell backwards, headfirst, down three or four steps. I was there and caught her before her head hit the floor, but it was terrifying and I had to calm myself afterwards. I’m hoping it scared her too, and that she’ll remember it next time she tries that move again.

Then of course there was this little trick:

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Ha, obviously I didn’t let it go on for long, and the thing is anchored to the wall, but still, we gotta watch this girl!

Communicating: Not too much to report this month. Same as always, babbling and progressing well. Oh, but she’s started to tease. She teases her brother, and me, a lot. Usually she just makes funny faces at us, especially when we’re asking her to do something. Oy.

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Growth: Louisa has become such a BIG GIRL this month. She seems so tall, so strong and sturdy, and definitely able to hold her own. She has two boys in her life (her brother and cousin) who love to roughhouse, and she seems totally capable of warding off their taunts. Way to go, Louisa!

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keeping up with the big kids!

Teeth: Two new molars have begun their epic journey to the surface. That means there’s only one to go!

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Food: Louisa got sick in February, and basically stopped eating solids for a couple of days. My milk supply is still going strong, so that’s good, though I feel like the weaning has commenced. I notice that Louisa doesn’t drain the breast as well as she used to, and she usually only takes one side at a time now. There have been more and more instances where I leaked through my shirt (usually at inopportune moments) and it’s taking my body a bit of time to adjust to her changing (dwindling) needs. It doesn’t help that she still nurses a lot at night.

Sleep:

IMG_6866During the day, she sleeps best in the carseat. Second only to my arms, of course!

Just as in the day time, her nighttime feedings have reduced in recent weeks, meaning that I usually wake up in the middle of the night in a puddle of milk. The sheets get soaked, and I end up sleeping in a cold wet puddle. Not ideal, but I know that this phase is also a brief one, and I’m hoping that as her needs for milk die down, it will ultimately mean more consolidated sleep for us all.

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On a somewhat related note: one day I got particularly upset in her room looking at her crib that she won’t sleep in. So I made a decision, and I switched it out for her bed. This set was given to us, and it’s tiny (made for toddlers) but at least – when the time comes – I’ll be able to lay down with her in this bed to ease her transition out of our room and into her own. Still no rush on when that will actually happen, but I felt better getting rid of the crib (and I’m sure she’s happy it’s gone too!!)

Favourites: Louisa has become a total book worm! She pulls books off the shelf constantly, and sits down with a good book all by herself. She has a few favourites, mostly ones with flaps to open, but she’ll gladly try new books according to her whims.

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Louisa’s kind of a little mamma. She really loves her dolls, and especially her zebra (it used to be Nico’s, but he never really took to plush toys). Whenever she’s upset, Nico is quick to find her Z and bring it to her. Then she squeezes it so tightly. In fact, the other day I closed the door on her while I tended to Nico in the bathroom, and when we opened it again, she was standing there, squeezing her Z. She had gone to get it herself for comfort! Way to go Louisa!

Nico’s Basic Kids Pants

I made some romping pants for Nico. They’re pretty basic, really just a wearable muslin to test fit.

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Nico does NOT like to wear pants, like AT ALL, but with the very cold winter we’ve had, he’s been forced to reluctantly keep a pair on for more than 10 minutes together. However, he always asks to wear pyjama pants because (duh) they’re way more comfortable than his jeans or cordoroys. So, I’ve decided to fit him out with some comfy pants that aren’t pyjamas.

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I used a pattern by Dana-Made-It, and I really like it. As she says, she’s adjusted the waist so that it hangs below the belly in the front. Her tutorial is great, and easy to follow. Perfect for a soft reintroduction to sewing. I’m very rusty, so I needed something E-A-S-Y.

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Such a cute belly!

I used my serger and was able to complete the pants in seriously less than one hour. That includes printing the pattern, choosing fabric from my stash, and fiddling with my serger when one of my threads broke (arg!).  So you know… doesn’t get much faster than that.

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As this was a tester pair, I wasn’t meticulous. You can see that in the stitch for the waistband. It’s not even close to straight, but the pants are a good fit, and will only require the most minimal of tweaks.

The details: Nico is ~37″ tall, weighs ~30lbs, has a 21″ waist and a 15″ inseam. I cut the pattern as written, and serged the seams with almost no seam allowance. Next time,  I’ll add the recommended 3/8″ seam allowance to make them a tad skinnier. Also to note: I made the pant legs straight (the pattern has a slight flare) and I might even go skinnier with the next pair. Though I don’t want to give up Nico’s comfort for style, since the whole point of these pants are to provide him with a comfy alternative to the pants in his closet.

Action shots:

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IMG_6820So now I must sort through my meagre fabric stash, neglected for so long, and find some nice fabric in appropriate weight/colour. As vibrant as this Shamrock Green might be, it’s not the softest fabric in the world, and won’t necessarily go with too much in his closet.

Me, sewing again. Guys, this is exciting!

Louisa: 13 Months

It wasn’t long after her birthday that little miss Louisa decided to grow right up all at once. No longer a baby, she exudes personality and spunk. She’s got a great laugh, a real sense of humour, and a tiny defiant streak that shows just enough character without being obnoxious. Obviously, I just love her to bits, and I’m really enjoying the emergence of this little person.

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Moving: Louisa is becoming a fast walker. She rushes around the main floor of our house, narrowly avoiding furniture and corners. She’s also getting pretty good at negotiating steps, though not without supervision. She’s in the not-so-great phase of being able to climb up on things, but not back down again, so that if I leave her alone for a minute or two, I’ll usually hear her chirping and whining, and find her standing on top of their play table or draped over the arm of a chair.

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I like that she’s adventurous, and with her height (more on that later) I’m sure she’ll be a pro at getting back down sooner rather than later.

Communicating: The babbling, the pointing, the indicating. She is a great communicator, and easily mimics the sounds we make. Her first official word is “Wow” which she said in the bath a few weeks ago with exaggerated emphasis. So cute, though no other words have emerged since. Oh well, they’ll come soon enough.

Louisa has had some attachment issues lately, though, and she cries A LOT for her mother. Sometimes she’ll tolerate simply being in the same room as me, but often only being in my arms will do. There have been a lot of tears and a lot of screams when I’ve had to put her down.

Growth: Louisa had her 12 month well-baby appointment on January 7, and her measurements were pretty much on track for her. She’s now 21lbs and 31 inches. She seems like a really tall girl now, and so much like a toddler it’s scary. She wears size 18-24 month clothing, and most of her shoes, which I had stashed in her closet because they seemed so big, no longer fit.

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Teeth: There’s an upper molar poking through her gum, but it’s taking its sweet time. Oh teething, how you’re working a number over poor Louisa!!

Food: This doesn’t seem to be as much a concern for me this time around. Certainly the fact that she eats pretty much anything (the only thing she really turns her nose up at are bananas, of all things!) and being a second-time mom, I’m not keeping track as diligently as I did with Nico. We are in this tricky pattern where she nurses a lot at night, which means she’s not that hungry for breakfast. I have to make more of an effort to sit her at the table with her baby cereal every morning, even if she only eats a bite or two. Otherwise, she eats when we eat, what we eat. It’s nice.

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Also, we’re still breastfeeding on demand, though that demand has dropped a bit lately. Is she self-weaning? ACK, what is this I’m feeling? Relief mixed with dread and layered with nostalgia and denial. I know our BF’ing days are numbered, but I thought I still had a few months left…

Sleep: There was a period at the beginning of January where Louisa was waking every hour or so. I was so tired that I wanted to cry, I was irritable and snappy, and totally desperate for sleep. Then her molar erupted and she went back to her “normal” sleep schedule of waking only twice a night. It was a relief, but unfortunately I hit a bought of insomnia, and it took me a while longer to benefit from her fewer wakeups.

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She still sleeps in our bed with us, and averages about 9 hours of sleep a night (in 3-hour chunks) while I’m “functioning” on about 6-7 hours a night. Not ideal, but moving in the right direction, I think.

She has also started to consolidate her naps into a largish one in early afternoon. Though sometimes by 10am she’s already so exhausted that I can do nothing but snuggle her down into her carseat for a small nap. She sleeps best in her carseat and only fitfully in her crib.

Favourites: Louisa loves to climb, as mentioned above, but she’s also really into her toys these days. Of course, being cooped up inside during these cold winter months, it’s no surprise. She absolutely LOVES this play pizza the kids got for Christmas, and also her dolly and stroller. She plays with the trains and has figured out how to work the lighthouse and coal hopper. It’s really great to see her manipulating these tiny toys so well, and it doesn’t take her long to figure things out.

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She also wants anything that her big brother might be into. Natch.

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She also got a book about colours, with flaps to open, and I often find her pulling it off the shelf and flipping through it. She comes by her fascination with books honestly, since I haven’t been as diligent about reading to her every day, but I can already tell that both kids will be readers.

Owlet

Owlet

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Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (Colour: Conch) – 3 skeins
Needles: 4.5mm / 5mm circular
Ravelry: Louisa’s Owlet

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I had a hard deadline for Louisa’s Little Sister (her birthday) so I pushed hard to get it done in time. But another huge motivator was the promise of this project. I bought this lovely squishy yarn especially for this piece, and the owlet pattern is one of the most popular on the whole internet.

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It’s easy to see why – it’s absolutely adorable. But more than that, it’s a pleasure to follow and so intuitive. The subtle details like the shaping of the neckline, the way the owl pattern is laid out, everything about it is top notch.

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Not only does this first rate pattern show in the constructed piece, it’s also a testament that I was able to finish this garment in about ONE WEEK. Seriously. Me, the world’s slowest knitter had a completed item before my child outgrew it. I can’t even!

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The pattern calls for buttons for every owl, but I didn’t have 30 of the same (there are 15 owls on this size sweater) so I chose to add eyes to only one of the owls with buttons from my stash.

I love this sweater, and I’ll totes be making it in a child size when she outgrows this one.

(Also, this pattern is a spin off from the adult version. And Kate Davies just released a new cardigan version.)

2015: Light

2015 so far has been a bit revelatory for me. In the past month I’ve done a lot of thinking, a lot of ruminating, and though I’ve been happier than last year, I’ve also felt weighted down a lot of the time. And so before any more of this year trickles by, I want to make a resolution:

To make 2015 LIGHT.

I haven’t written a “deep thoughts” post in a really long time (well, actually, I have a couple in my drafts folder, but they’ll never make it to the internet) but now I’m ready to share a few things knocking about in my mind. 2014 was the most challenging year of my life. For one thing, I can see now that I developed postpartum depression and it was really hard to shake. Also, life with two small children is really taxing, and it was very difficult to meet both their individual needs on a daily basis. Oh yeah, and that ever-constant companion, sleep deprivation made my brain and body sluggish.

There were other things that were getting to me, too: I became highly mutable and influenceable and started making decisions not based on my own desires, but from the influence of others; I got a major case of the FOMO’s (fear of missing out) and developed a real love-hate relationship with Instagram; and I stopped doing all of the little things that keep me healthy and happy, like eating well, running often, and connecting with friends.

So… In 2015 I vow to shed the heavy in order to feel light.

Angelo and I have already started a housewide purge. We got rid of a lot of stuff. We still have the basement and garage to do, and once those spaces are clear, I know I’ll feel like a big weight has been lifted.

I will not set myself up for failure. I recently read The Happiness Project and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and at first those books just made me feel totally inadequate and overwhelmed. But now that they’ve percolated in my mind for a while, I can glean from them what I need, appreciate that some of the information is interesting and useful, and move on. No need to create elaborate plans or goals or resolutions of my own (and document and track and evaluate and analyze). It feels freeing and liberating.

I’m also going to cut myself a whole lot of slack about parenting. I’m going to lift the guilt associated with EVERY SINGLE PARENTING DECISION I make. Fuck that. My kid loves train videos and watches them every day; my other kid’s diapers are old and leak constantly; the very thought of wrangling them both into snowsuits every day is exhausting; etc. At the end of the day, my children are clean, fed, happy and curious. They’re doing just great, which means I’m doing just great. End of story.

And finally, the biggest thing – I’m totally over the internet. I get such feelings of sadness, jealousy, and inferiority when I spend time online. What wasted energy. Time in front of a computer screen seems like time wasted these days. Angelo and I have reduced our presence (and the presence of our children) on sites like Facebook, and my Instagram account’s days are numbered. And here’s the big one: I’m shutting down Speed Trials at the end of this year.

Ahhh, the lightness!

This decision is a long-time coming, and now I’m really ready for it. One of my big projects for 2015 is to archive the blog offline. The most important part will be putting the kiddos’ posts into hardbound books. I’m really excited to take this on, and I think it will be so affirming to have their updates into a bound book and off the internet. I can’t wait! Going forward, I’m also planning on making yearly photo albums so that I can keep up on things like their birthday posts, but offline.

As for my knitting and running posts, I think I’ll manage just fine without them. I’ll still be active on Ravelry, and while the race recaps are fun to write, and I love taking photos while I race, I think now that I’ve done a dozen or so, they’re starting to feel a bit redundant.

So there you go. Shedding the weight, letting in the light, losing the guilt, breathing easy. And love, always giving, showing, and receiving love.

Thank you 2015!