Friday, April 19, 2013

30 weeks

30 weeks. 

Hard to believe. 10 weeks left; it seems like such a short amount of time now. But, a lot of things these days have been hard to believe. Like explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon or that it's been 18 years today since the Oklahoma City Bombing.

It scares me to think that I'm bringing a child into a world where people purposely plan mass destruction and killing but it scares me to think of a world where we let fear and cowardice win over love and strength. There will always be bad things in the world but I couldn't imagine a world without my little love. Monday was a scary day, even though Boston is miles from Oklahoma, as a Boston marathon runner the previous year and a part of the larger running community I felt like this hit really close to home. I thanked God for the baby he gave me, the reason I wasn't in Boston this year, thanked him for the safety of those I love and prayed he would bring comfort and healing to those affected.

I know that I want to teach my daughter to love above all else and that while there is bad in this world there is so much more good. And that runners aren't people you mess with.

What a difference a year makes.

Boston Marathon, 2012

Friday, April 12, 2013

29 Weeks

I feel like I have a thousand things bouncing around in my head right now. If my brain is an internet browser I literally have 2543 tabs open at once. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration, but I just feel like I've got so much on my mind. Time feels like it's going by extraordinarily quickly. Only 11 weeks left! It seems like still quite a ways off but I'm getting so anxious. I know it's going to go by quickly especially with some really exciting events coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Outtake from my weekly belly photo session

Evening snuggles 

A splurge - well deserved after a busy weekend and my first ice cream since February

Delicious Cafe Kacao after our long run on Sunday

Location scouting for spring photo shoots - I thought this mural was cool!

Homemade pizza

Last Sunday I ran 12 miles with the Landrunners on the last 20 mile training run of the Spring. It was a beautiful morning to run and it smelled a little like race day (if you think I'm crazy just ask a runner what I mean). I'm very excited about running the half marathon and hopefully getting to see many different friends participating in the various events of the day.

I was asked to take the official Landrunner spring training group photo this past weekend. We set up at the Memorial and despite the early time, the photo turned out great! I love being a part of this great group of runners!  

Baby W is currently growing and getting bigger by the day. According to my weekly baby email she is now 2 1/2 pounds and growing quickly. Apparently thanks to putting on fat she now has more energy so combine that with getting bigger and it's no wonder I am feeling all sorts of kicks, punches and rolls much more frequently now. I'm thinking baby's growth could be why I feel so tired too? Coincidence...? Regardless, I absolutely LOVE feeling her move, even the sharp jabs. Knowing she's there, feeling her inside me, having my little babe with me all the time, it's just the greatest feeling. I lose track of time as I sit quietly feeling her move. It's mesmerizing and I know I will miss this feeling when I am no longer pregnant.

I really wish the weather here in Oklahoma felt more April-like so I could write about how great it is that it's spring and I'm enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Instead the temperatures are hovering around freezing (although it is sunny out) and yesterday we had a freezing rain thunderstorm that left all our newly blooming trees looking frozen and broken. The weather is always an adventure here I guess.

Last week I finished a really great book. Amidst all the quilting and baby-raising books that are cluttering our coffee table, I found a really amazing book that I highly recommend to any Mom or soon-to-be Mom. Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly is an amazing and touching book and I am certain I will reread parts of it before June. I laughed and cried and loved her writing. And I'm just happy to say I finished a book I started.

I've been busy working on projects here, my ongoing craft and nursery projects of course and some new ones too. As expected I have ten million going on at once. Can I just start and finish one thing? Apparently not! I'm currently attempting to make progress on my goal to get my personal photos off my hard drive and out where we can enjoy them. After a lot of debate at the beginning of the year about how to do this I decided to create photo books. After even much more debate I decided on how to divide books up that makes sense to me. I'm currently working on getting caught up in the next 11 weeks (I thought I had more time) but enjoying the process and think it will work for us.

I've decided to create one big hardback book for our family to document what happens each year (this may be divided into 6 month periods with a Vol 1 and Vol 2) and then softcover smaller books to document big events in the year that deserve more showcasing. These events from 2012 are the trips we took to Boston and San Francisco and our Home Remodel project. As you might guess 2013's special books will include Baby Girl's birth and a Waiting on Baby book where I document my pregnancy journey. It's important that I include photos from these events in the main year book but use the smaller books to give the larger amount of photos and information the space they deserve without overwhelming the yearly books. I'm about halfway through with my San Francisco book and hope to start the Boston, Home Remodel and Waiting on Baby books after that. In a perfect world I'll also have my 2012 book created and my 2013 book caught up by June, but let's be realistic here, that probably won't happen. I'm just happy I've decided on a system and I'm excited to see my photos printed out. They are really quite awesome and deserve to be looked at and not forgotten on my hard drive!

Here are a couple random shots from my editing and book prep that I've been working on!

Boston skyline and Charles River bridge the morning after the marathon on my walk (hobble), 
most notably that famous Citgo sign in the background

Charles River

Saigon Sam's, best bahn mi I've ever had, San Francisco 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My quilt for Baby Girl

I'm not sure how it started, maybe on one of my many trips to the Quilt Store to plan and pick up fabric for the two lovely quilts that Nana is making for Baby Girl, I decided it was important that I make a quilt for her too. She needed to have a quilt from her Mama and I needed to make this for her no matter how imperfect and beginner my attempt would end up. With the help of several (overdue) library books and many emails and phone conversations with my Mom, I am very proud to have finished my first quilt. I imagine cuddling with my little love in this blanket and hope it's one that she will love.

I decided not to over think the quilting and simply bought a lot of fabric that I loved. I knew the colors would all work well together because I chose my favorite colors. I have a serious obsession with all things striped and polka dotted so there are quite a few of these patterns as well. The fabrics make me happy and I love the variety.

Thanks to a wonderful gift from my Mom of a cutting board and rotary cutter, the cutting of the squares was super easy! It took much longer to decide on the size, but I eventually decided I wanted the final squares to be 3" so I cut my fabric squares to 3 1/2" to account for the seam allowances.

I then spent one evening crawling on the floor laying out squares. A fairly hilarious thing considering the size of my belly. I also spent a great deal of time shooing away the cat who was every curious about why fabric was on the floor and continually had to investigate. 

Once the squares were laid out I spent only a little bit of time arranging them differently. I pretty much just laid them out randomly and as long as the same fabric wasn't close or too much of one color/pattern was too close, I didn't overthink it too much. I wanted it to look random and unplanned.

Then I got to work pinning and sewing the squares together. I thought it would take a lot longer but once I got going I couldn't stop and the rows came together really quickly. My first couple of rows didn't quite match up as well as I would have liked since I was just getting the feel for what a 1/4" seam allowance should be. As I got more practice and more sewing I found myself getting much more consistent. I had a couple mistakes with sewing things backwards (that's why I have a seam ripper!) but overall I found that if I took my time and thought things through before I started sewing (sometimes hard for me) and that I maintained consistency throughout, I didn't have many problems.

I am incredibly pleased with how well the top came together. My seams aren't perfect but I wasn't trying for perfection and I just love the way it looks. The fabrics are bright and happy and I love the squares. I knew I wanted this to be a soft and cuddly baby blanket so I chose to use quilt batting and the very soft minky dot fabric for the quilt backing.

Again I spent an evening crawling on the living room floor pinning the quilting layers together. I was careful to get everything smoothed out and probably pinned way more than necessary.

I decided to quilt the top with straight lines about 1/4" out from the square seams. This was easy and I didn't have to worry about practicing advandaced quilting techniques, I just sewed lines. The quilt got pretty bulking with the addition of the batting and minky fabric so it got a little tedious to do the quilting but I loved seeing the progress and it didn't take nearly as long as I imagined it would.

I was incredibly pleased with the results of the quilting. I feared that somehow this step would ruin all the work I had done to sew the squares together but it definitely completely the quilt. I used white thread so it shows up only subtly on the back and front. There are plenty of areas where the squares don't line up and thus my lines are a bit wonky, but I'd like to think you only notice that if you look hard enough :) The quilt is soft and cozy and obviously already loved by certain family members!

The final step was the binding. I was excited but had the least experience with this step. Basically, I knew nothing about what to do. With the help of some library books and mostly from my Mom, with one especially helpful Facetime session, I attempted my first quilt binding. It was actually alot easier than I anticipated and I really enjoyed this step. I machine sewed the binding on the top and hand sewed it to the back.

I am incredibly proud of my quilt and cannot wait to snuggle a sweet babe in it. As a final finishing touch I added a little "Love Mama" to the bottom corner. I knew I wanted to sign the quilt but this one was meant for Baby from Mama so I decided to add a little hand embroidered love note.