Monday, October 24, 2011

Homemade Birthday Gifts

Last week, little caterpillar came home with her first birthday party invitation from daycare. Woohoo! My girl is fitting in and having some little friends there. I am pretty sure all the kids got it, but I still felt very happy for my girl. The party is for a little boy in her class, and his sister. Guess their birthday is really close, so they can celebrate together. Since this is little caterpillar first daycare friend's party, I know I have to work hard to help her making more friends. After some research online about what kinds of gifts are suitable for 2-yr-old and 4-yr-old nowadays, and considering how many more kids in her class, plus all the parties coming up during the holiday seasons among our own friends, I decided to make most the gifts for all the kids from now on to keep the cost low. We have to think twice about how we spend our money now that our little family is growing.

Here are some of the ideas I came up with, after lots of researching of course. Well, first of all they have to be functional and fun, and every kids will like it, AND it has to be EASY to make. I am not taking on time-consuming projects, since I have very limited energy nowadays.
1. first thing came up my mind are these little shoulder bags I made for our friends' kids before. They are fun to make and relatively easy. And I can use up some of my scraps. I can also make them the matching bowtie, like this one.

2. coloring bag with crayon holders or crayon rolls. I have seen these around the internet for a while, and thought about making them for my girl. I am sure her little friends all love coloring with crayons too. Forgot where I found this picture though. Of course, I cannot just give them a bag without filling it up with lots of crayons and some fun coloring books.

3. draw string bags. They are so easy to make and kids need lots of them to organize their tiny toys, like legos. I bookmarked this wonderful tutorial before, now it's time to make some. I can collect some small toys from dollar store or Target dollar section to fill them up.

4. an activity mat. I made this car mat kit for my best friend's little boy earlier this year,
it's so cute, but too big and time-consuming. I didn't mind making it for him, but not practical to make for too many kids. So, I probably will make some smaller ones like this,
or a dinosaur mat like this one, (tutorial here)
or a doll house mat for a little girl.Of course, I will put some matchbox cars, or dinosaurs, or tiny dolls in there, so they can play with it immediately.

5. a set of felt alphabet or numbers in their own bags. I tried making some just like this following picture, but all that embroidery took too long, I ran out of patience. So, if making these for other kids, I will have to make the plain ones instead. Guess this one only fits younger kids.

6. a tic-tac-toe set. can be made with fabric or felt. So simple and lots of fun. Of course you can buy this set online, but $60 isn't exactly in my budget. So, I will be stealing their idea and make some myself. And again, there won't be fancy embroidery either.

7. I can also make lots of cute hair clips or pins for girls, or those dress up hats (like the one I made for littler caterpillar's birthday last month).

There are still so many ideas, but I have to be careful not get too excited and spending too much money or energy on these. Otherwise it will be totally against my goal. I already made the gifts for this party, will show you some pictures later.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Pregnancy Photo

Well, for this pregnancy it is. Since Stubborn isn't really so hot about the idea of documenting one of the most important time in my life, or should I say our life, I kind of lost the mood. So, instead of creating a wonderful shirt like this, I just went with a very simple one I got from Old Navy recently. And since I think he has been deliberately taking unfocused pictures of me to get out of the photographer's job, I just set up my tripot and took these pictures myself. So, no time to pose, and very unhappy faces. I am ok with being the one behind those lenses all the time when we are out having fun, and I love to document the love between two most important person in my life, so most of the time, I don't regret not being in any pictures. I know I will always remember how I felt when I took those pictures. BUT how many times can a woman get pregnant in her life? I really want to document my miracle pregnancy last time, Stubborn took some pictures for me, but all very random, bad lighting, and not even every other week. I really thought he could understand how I feel this time. I was so excited when I found out about this baby, had all these wonderful plan about documenting the pregnancy and the first two years of the baby. I even found some great inspirations online. Well, guess I will just have to settle with so-so pictures again. Forget about the sweet moments of little Caterpillar kissing the baby brother or sister in my big belly. But I will definitely do my best for my baby! I will not let my babies have this regret later knowing mommy didn't love them enough to document their lifes. So far, I did a pretty good job with little caterpillar. I know this time it will be harder, two babies under the age of 3 plus a full time job and a house, but I will try my best! I promise to you, my dear baby!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Perfect Weekend Wasted

Had some wonderful plan for the past weekend, since it supposed to be in the 80s! Rare for this time of the year, and big change from last week 50s weather. I felt normal Sat morning, but by that afternoon, I started to feel exhausted. OK, so I thought, I will just take it easy today, and gather enough energy for tomorrow's trip. We planned to drive all the way up to White Mountains to see the foliage. It will be little caterpillar's first time, and last time being the only child. The trip will be at least 3 hours one way, so I didn't really cook or do the dishes, and relaxed for hours. But when I woke up Sun morning, I was totally surprised with this totally drained feeling! stubborn also felt tired, and little caterpillar wanted to sleep in. So, I thought we will just rest a little more and leave the house later. But then I got this very uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, like stomache ache plus heart burn, not too sharp, but enough to knock me down. I took some Zantac, but still feeling sad and down. We had to cancel the trip, we still have time though, most area in NH the leaves just started changing. Maybe we can go next weekend, maybe we can see better colors then. I was in such a mess, I didn't even go to YMCA with stubborn and little caterpillar. I really wanted to take some pictures of her swimming, stubborn said she can swim by herself now, doggie style. And she loves to jump into the pool now! Well, I just have to take care of myself first, and there are still plenty chances for those pictures. I am really curious to know the gender of this baby, my body and mood is totally different than last time, I am guessing it might be a boy! But, who knows!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Big News

I have been hiding a big secret from you guys, but I think it's time to let you know that I am pregnant with our second baby! This baby is nothing short of a miracle! Remember I had a couple of really bad falls in July? I didn't even know I was already pregnant! Lucky the doctor only ordered foot X-ray on me, and I told the X-ray doctor to double shield my belly just in case. I still cannot totally believe this baby held on during those two falls! This pregnancy so far is nothing like my last, which was so smooth, no morning sickness, great appetite, and happy all the way. This time, I got not only morning sickness, but also some bleeding, had fever a couple of times, got some germs from little caterpillar and coughed like crazy for a week, and I seem to lost my appetite! Thank goodness I can still tolerate cooking, I cannot eat the stuffs Stubborn cooks. Every evening, I cook for about an hour, 4 dishes and a soup, so there might be one dish that little caterpillar likes. Yeah, we have been having hard time feeding her as well. I have been so tired too, well, last time I didn't have to deal with a super active toddler. Now every night after dinner, I just want to collapse in the couch and watch some TV. Stubborn has been really helpful, giving little caterpillar bath, giving her a bottle and then putting her to bed. She won't sleep if I am upstairs, she will play with me (even if I pretend to sleep) till midnight. So, while they are upstairs, I have to gather all my energy to clean up the dinning room and kitchen, pack up our lunch for the next day, and take out the trash. Thank goodness we have dishwasher! Since I cook a lot, I basically have to run it every night! I am so missing our nanny, but we cannot afford having her and sending our girl to daycare at the same time. Pretty soon though, we will have her back (or another nanny) once I had this baby. That will be a tremendous help physically, but financially we might have to work harder.

Anyway, now that I am out of first trimester, I can be sure this baby is here to stay, so I can start letting my friends know. And I can start planning somethings. Well, since we don't know the gender yet, I cannot really buy any new clothes for the baby, but what I can do is to re-arrange the furniture and set up the crib. Last pregnancy, stubborn didn't take good pictures of me, which was always one of my biggest regrets. So this time, he has to do a better job. I want weekly pictures to show my progress, and I want to have some fun with it.

I found this amazing idea online lately, has been looking out for similar shirt ever since. Miranda from One Little Minute shared with us the amazing idea of Maternity Calendar Shirt. Love how simple this project is, and Miranda and her hubby are hilarious! I think I have seen this idea somewhere else, but don't remember where. In that tutorial I saw before there was a collage picture of all 40 weeks of the pregnancy. That's exact what I want this time. Well, I won't have 40 weeks pictures, since I didn't want any pictures in the first trimester, in case I jinx it. But still I will start this project asap, maybe this weekend. I already bought a maternity shirt I think will be perfect for this project. Let's see how good I am at freezer paper stencilling.

I also have so many other ideas about documenting the new baby's growth, but that will be another post.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Topsfield Fair, Part I

We took little caterpillar to the famous Topsfield Fair last Sun. My friend told me about it when we were discussing fall activities for kids. There are tons of information on their website. You want to get there early as the traffic and parking will get pretty bad around lunch time. There are so many wonderful activities for all ages, so read their website for the daily schedules and announcements. Oh, if you buy the tickets online, it only takes them a couple of days to send it to your home. The ride tickets from online are 11 for $20, and each tickets good for any one ride. The ones you get at the fair are $1.25 each (I think), but you need 3-5 tickets to get on most of the rides, so it's actually way more expensive. You also can buy food tickets online as well. We didn't, because Stubborn had other plans.

Anyway, we got there right after 10Am (opening time), parked near the entrance, very convenient. And just beyond the entrance are those kiddie rides (36"-42"), perfect for little caterpillar. She went on one after another, very excited. Oh, some rides are too small for daddy to tag along, but they do have seatbelts or ropes to protect kids, and they were slow, so no problem at all. Here are just some of the pictures I took at the kiddie rides area. The rest of the pictures have to be processed and posted later, since our little girl got sick after we came home from the fair, and we have been too busy taking care of her.

Here is my girl on her favorite ride, the merry-go-round. She actually insisted to ride this one and the bigger one several times.

This little train was so cute. There was the engine, two open carts and one bigger closed cart at the end. But all kids want to ride in the engine cart, hence the crowded view. Little caterpillar was a little uncomfortable having other kids sitting so close, and it was her first train ride, so she looked very concerned, no smile for mommy, nor those excited "choo choo" other kids were making.

Then she went on the little elephant ride. I didn't think it was dumbo ride since they all had normal size ears. Nonetheless, she was having so much fun as the elephants flew around and around, up and down. But not enough fun for her to request another ride though.

Then daddy took her aboard the crazy bus. Guess she felt much safer having daddy sitting next to her and holding her, she actually looked around for mommy and waved. Yay!

Then it's her turn to ride the cute cars. She was in the front of the line, so daddy got to pick any car she liked. Of course, a pink floral car! It was so funny she drove with only left hand on the wheel, just as her daddy and mommy.

After these rides, we went to see the animals. There were so many other exciting places there, you just have to wait till I post the pictures later. Or, if you live in MA or NH or ME area, you should just go there and see for yourself. Oh, did I mention they also have elephant and camel ride? Amazing!