28 February 2010

... is this front loader doing on my tummy?

Turns out, to a three-year-old, my tummy makes for a a great place for a front loader and a bulldozer to play!

Hope you don't mind, Miss Lady...

... but you may as well get used to it!

You're coming into a family with a big brother!

And some day, you'll be here on the bed
playing construction with us!

(No promises that I'll have a
big round tummy to play on then, though!!!)

You're going to really like him, Miss Hazel.
Oliver is so excited to meet you
and he's ready to take good care of you!

So... come on out and meet him!

And us!!

Happy 38 weeks, baby girl!
We adore you and can't wait to meet you!

25 February 2010

Hi friends!

Okay, I'm just going to being {yeah, after I published this I re-read and realized that even proof-reading didn't catch that I meant to say "begin"} this post by warning you not to expect it to be fluid or even coherent. My mind (as well as my body) is more pregnant every day and therefore, is less useful.

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't posted anything in over a week. It further occurred to me that being nine months pregnant and blogging through the pregnancy and having such lovely, supportive, encouraging readers, then dropping off the face of the planet for over a week isn't perhaps considerate.

So sorry to leave you all hanging!

And, if my absence hasn't been a concern to you, well, that's just fine too. I do realize that y'all have full, interesting lives and that you are not likely loosing sleep over when my next post will come.

Seriously, I already hate myself in this post. I hope to be a much better communicator once this whole crazy pregnancy hormone thing subsides! Hopefully my mind isn't gone forever...

So, back to an update.

We're doing great here. I had a very nice, encouraging appointment with my midwife yesterday. (Yay!) In case you haven't guessed, I'm probably not going to share all the nitty gritty details of my progression with y'all. (I don't judge folks who do... I just chose not to) :) But I will say that it was encouraging to have progressed even more than my appointment two weeks ago and I am getting very anxious to get this show on the road!

(That said, I'm only 37weeks, 4 days pregnant. Oliver was born at 41 weeks. I know that getting my hopes up too high now could only lead to another 3 weeks of frustration. We may not meet this girl until the first day of spring!)

I managed to have another meltdown on Tuesday night. I think that the culmination of this pregnancy hasn't really hit me until this week. To be honest, it still feels SO imaginary that we could be a family of four - that we will ever be more than just Raechel, Ryan and Oliver. Could this really be real???

It also feels sad to me that we won't be a family of five. I imagine a lot what it would be like to have a 3.5-year-old, a nearly 2-year-old and a newborn. Two girls and a boy - that would be a handful but oh, wouldn't it be wonderful? Our joy is great! Our family is growing! But there will always be a gap where our Evie belongs and that's how it is. We accept it, but still grieve it.

And for now, I am wriggly with anticipation of the days ahead. I'm running around the house, cleaning every corner until it shines - even the sewing room!! :)

I made two blankets and five burp cloths for our girl this week (it occurred to me that I'd been making all these bibs and burp cloths for my shop, but didn't have any set aside for Hazel!). I even got grossed out enough by my oven mitt that I decided it needed replacing in preparation of the new baby. (Why does a new baby need a nice oven mitt, you ask? I really couldn't tell you, but it felt pressing at the time.)

Exhibit A: The Offender
(It's stained and scraggly and we've had it since we got married. Yuck!)

Exhibit B: The Replacement
(Actually a pretty simple project - just a little chenille, insulbrite and
Nicey Jane fabric and an oven mitt is born!)

(It looks like I took these photos in some kind of a weird studio something - they're just on the kitchen table which photographs black and makes photos like this look waaay too official.)

Apart from that, I've been enjoying getting geared up for labor - watching The Business of Being Born (if you haven't seen it - DO!! It's available on Netflix in the "watch instantly" section and it's SO good!), reading Spiritual Midwifery and and inflating my yoga ball. I'm actually looking forward to labor! I know that sounds weird because, let's face it, it's pretty uncomfortable (understatement of the century), but there's something wonderful about it to me. Such a rush - such a feeling of satisfaction working with your body to bring a life into the world. I was built for this and it's a life experience that you only get to have a couple of times in your life - if ever. (At any point did I come across way too granola-y? I imagine that's possible.)

So, that was my post. There was a meltdown, and oven mitt and a yoga ball and that's the best I can do. :) I'll do my best to be better at keeping y'all posted, k? And when Miss Lady Ma'am (another Lady and the Tramp reference, if you're keeping track from previous posts!) makes her grand entrance, we'll be sure to let y'all know about it!

Love, contractions and "la-la-loo",
Raechel :)

16 February 2010

**Update: Karen at PillowSewCute has extended her $1 off discount for your choice of Ouch Pouch through February and March!! Just use the code "Finding My Feet" in the checkout comments and the $1 will be refunded to you through PayPal after purchase is complete. Thanks, Karen!**


And the winner of the Hali Diaper Clutch is....

I love all the diapers. Having my 3rd boy soon and really need a new bag!

Congratulations, Jen!

**Comments closed!
Discounts still good until date indicated!
Winner will be announced shortly!**

Yep, another list!

I have been hunting far and wide for a good diaper bag to use this time around. The other night while I was scouring Etsy I came across some lovely bags that make fantastic options! As I was tweeting about them, several of you expressed interest in a little list of my picks.

So glad to oblige!

A few notes before I get started:
:: These are all Etsy finds. There are lots of other great places to find diaper bags (and tons of great diaper bags out there!), but I've decided for this list to be exclusively handmade finds.

:: Many of these bags are actually just handbags. My advice: the advantage to buying handmade is that you can actually talk with the seller/maker of the product. Always feel free to ask sellers if you have specific needs/desires. In this case, if they're made to order, go ahead and ask for larger inside pockets or dividers, or for a snap closure instead of a zipper closure. Generally folks are eager to please and will be glad to meet your requests for little or no additional charge (depending on what you're asking for!)

:: I lean toward diaper bags that don't look like diaper bags. I understand that some things are functionally critical or at least desirable (lots of pockets, easy access, wipe-able/stain resistant surfaces), but I also want to like what I'm carrying. I don't go gender specific so you won't see any pinks or blues on my list. Lots of folks love a laminated bag, but it's just not my cup of tea. And, since it's my list of picks...

My Picks:
Great Handmade Diaper Bags for Under $100

Made in Paris, this beautifully detailed bag is available with green, blue, orange or purple detailing. And, according to the item description, the inside CAN be customized! You can also choose different colors for the linen.

It's roomy, pretty and dignified and something you'd be totally happy carrying as a purse later on!
2. The Sage Bird Bag by retrofied ($52):
It's actually reversible (which does limit pocket options) and the side shown here is actually hand printed on SKAL organic cotton (as in, the seller designed this fabric herself!). It may not be at the top of the functional list, but it's beautiful!

3, 4 &5. The Olive-Green Denim Bag by CrazyBoy ($50):
This bag comes from Thailand and might be my favorite pick. I actually contacted the seller last night hoping to work with her on the interior space. All of the bags in this shop are BEAUTIFUL and look like they're really well made. I had been looking specifically for a grey bag for myself, so I was really happy to come across this one!

As you can see, this one is pretty big.

It's also available a bit smaller with an outside pocket for a little less ($46).

And I adore this striped one as well (totally feeling the greyscale lately!):

6. The Elessa bag in metal grey by miloo ($72):
This bag has a great shape and is made from waterproof material (a diaper bag plus!). It's a little pricey but they do offer free shipping. I think I'd ask to have the zipper closure replaced with a magnetic closure, particularly since the seller has noted that they're open to customization. :)
It's also available in red canvas if you're looking for some color!
This is actually a BYOF (buy your own fabric) listing which may make this one the most expensive on my list. But, also perhaps the best bag. It's actually made to be a diaper bag and you get to choose exactly what fabrics you like and work with the seller on interior spacing and so on. The design has FOURTEEN pockets of various sizes, integrated stroller straps, interior elastics, snap closures that allow you to adjust the opening size and on and on. (They actually have one of these in their shop on clearance for $35 right now!)

My advice: pick a laminated cotton (oilcloth) for the interior fabric if wipe-ability is important to you. There are some lovely oilcloth fabrics here, here and here. (Yes, one is by Anna Maria Horner!)

**BONUS - Andrea at WatermelonWishes is offering Finding My Feet readers a FREE coordinating changing pad with the purchase of any diaper bag. (If you select the BYOF option, you'll need to provide an additional 1/2 yard of fabric and she'll provide the chenille and labor free of charge). To take advantage of this offer, contact Andrea via orders@watermelonwishes.com and mention this offer. She'll set up a reserved listing in your name.**

8. The City Bag by whoknewdesign ($75):
I LOVE the ingenuity of this design! You can carry it up as shown here:
Then, when you need to get into it, you can fold down the sides and pull out the top and voila! - you can actually SEE inside the bag and get what you need! Novel idea, eh?
This one is also available in a leather look for the same price!
I'm actually digging this leather one quite a lot!

**DISCOUNT: Karine of WhoKnewDeisgn has offered a 15% discount to anyone who mentions my blog at checkout, now through Sunday (2/21). 15% will be refunded via PayPal after purchase is complete.**

9. The Canvas Lines Bag by tippythai ($35):
Um, can we talk about the price?!! This is a great buy! Plus the pleats AND the grey! Now, scroll down and look inside!


PLUS, you get to choose between snap or zipper closure - no extra charge! This shop is also flexible with colors - so you can pick if you're not a fan of grey like me. Ahem.

Yes, it's over $100. I'm breaking my own rules. But, I LOVE this scooter fabric and their other same 6-pocket diaper bags are as low as $70. (The scooter fabric will get you every time!)

It's nice to have a reversible bag, and this one has, as I said, 6 exterior pockets (interior if you have the pretty orange side out) and comes with a great 5"x7" zipper pouch for extra handiness.

Okay, those are my top ten bags! Now, can I share a few accessories I came across in my hunting? I found four favorites that meet different needs in different ways:

My Picks:
Great Diaper Bag Accessories That I Want To Be Mine!

1. The Ouch Pouch by PillowSewCute ($5.95) {look for discount below!}:
This is a GREAT idea! It's a 4"x5" pouch with pretty fabric on one side, and a clear plastic window on the other so you can SEE what's inside. Oh, the marvels of modern thinking!

So, you can store pacifiers, bandaids, wet wipes, whatever!

Here it is filled with useful things (you can actually buy them empty or stocked!):

**DISCOUNT - Karen at PillowSewCute is offering $1 off any Ouch Pouch today through Sunday (2/21). That makes them under $5! Use the discount code "Finding My Feet" at checkout and your $1 will be refunded through PayPal after purchase is complete.**

2. The ICKY BAG by PETUNIAS ($16.50 - $25):
These are especially great if you're cloth diapering and need a small wet bag for your nappies. They're "wet proof" and zippered and you can stuff anything in them wet or dry - think swimsuits at the pool, soiled clothes from leaks/blowouts, etc. You can wash and dry it, so just toss it in the wash along with whatever "icky" thing it contains.

Plus, they're really cute!

3. The QuickTrip Organizer by Bundled ($28) {look for discount offer below!}:
The QuickTrip is great because it's a changing mat and diaper/wipes holder all in one! It folds up to a nice clutch size so you can carry it alone or stick it in your purse (or diaper bag, of course). It's lightly padded for baby's comfort but not too bulky to be able to tuck into your bag. A really clever diapering accessory!

**DISCOUNT - Heather at Bundled is offering y'all a 20% discount off your entire order. PLUS, any orders that contain the QuickTrip organizer will ship for FREE! Just mention "Finding My Feet" at checkout and the discounts will be refunded to you through PayPal after checkout is complete.**

First, these are just plain pretty. I want one for my own. Second, it seems like a great idea to have as something that stays in the car at all times or that you can throw into your purse if you don't want to carry a big diaper bag. Really, the conveniences are endless - it'd be great to throw into a picnic basket if you were headed out for a picnic lunch. I love the option of a small, attractive bag that can either be stored in a handy place or just pulled out of your existing bag for a quick trip.

There's also a handy back pocket for storing your stuff so you don't even need your purse!

I give the Hali Diaper clutch two thumbs up!

**GIVEAWAY!! - Erin & Haley, the makers of the Hali clutch are giving away one Hali clutch to a lucky (providentially fortunate...) reader! Simply leave a comment on this post to be entered to win! Comments will close 5pm CST on Friday, February 19, 2010. Winner will be chosen by a random integer generator. Best wishes, this is a great prize!!**

And, there you have it: the results of me poking around on Etsy while Ryan watches the Olympics! I hope this was helpful!

Which one of these is your favorite?

Are there others that you would recommend (handmade or otherwise)? I'd love to hear!

Okay, don't forget about the Hali Clutch giveaway! Just leave a comment (one entry per person, please - honor system!) and I'll announce a winner Friday evening!

15 February 2010

Because y'all might ask, I'm going to try to be one step ahead of you this time! :)

:: The blocks (are these not the CUTEST blocks ever) were made by my sweet and (very!) talented friend Marissa. She made them for the kids (really me) :) and they arrived (with other fantastic gifts!) in the mail this weekend. Thanks again, Mis!

:: The butterfly mobile was inspired by a $79 version at pottery barn kids but Ry and I worked together and made it for about $4. I bought the 100 butterflies here and used this tutorial as a (very rough) guide. Here's another quick way to make a mobile/chandelier.

:: The pinwheels were made using this tutorial from Portobello Pixie. (FUN, easy project!)

:: The crib bedding (bumper and skirt), valance and Oliver's duvet were made using fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks and Little folks line and were designed and made by yours truly :) (I used a plain white $12 bumper from IKEA as my form for the bumper).

:: The friendly pink hippo keeping Hazel's crib warm is a gift from her brother, found at IKEA.

:: Those adorable, itty bitty crocheted booties were a gift from my Mama, custom made by and purchased from this fantastic Etsy shop in France. (These are going to the hospital with us!!)

:: The cute giraffe in the basket in the last photo was a sweet gift to Hazel from Heather. She makes them in her Etsy shop Sweet Pea Boutique.

:: The paint color (so sorry I forgot to include this initially!!) is "Teal Zeal" by Behr and available at The Home Depot. We love it!