Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's a wrap...

I went to a baby shower this weekend for my lovely friend, Laura. Of course I procrastinated and didn't have a chance to get wrapping paper for her gift (nor do I keep any around the house). So, I just whipped up this little bag from wizard fabric I have in my stash. It look 2 minutes. Really. And it's so cute. And Laura can use it again if she wants to. And I'm not wasting paper that's just going to get thrown away.

Want instructions?
  1. Cut fabric into two squares or rectangles making sure they are the same size.
  2. Serge or sew the bottom together. A zig-zag stitch works just fine if you don't have a serger. You can also sew the layers with the right sides together if you want the seam on the inside.
  3. Serge or sew the sides together.
  4. Serge or sew the top of the bag (just to finish -- don't sew the two pieces together or you will have a flat pillow instead of a little bag). 
  5. Stuff bag with something delightful.
  6. Tie a string around the top of the bag to close it.
  7. Give it to someone!
This picture shows the stitching a little better. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


So there's a Swedish brand of nursing/maternity wear called Boob. Their nursing tops look cute and comfy and easy to nurse in. Apparently I can get Boob clothes at these stores in Chicago! Oh yeah, they also have super cute baby stuff too.

I want this hoodie.

How many times can I type "boob" in this post? A lot. Yay for Boob and yay for boobs!

This little piggy...

Baby Jo is grabbing her toes! I've been trying to catch a few pics, but haven't had any luck. It's probably the cutest thing in the world.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Getting ready for Etsy

Mom, Liv, and I have been busy working on getting our Etsy store up and running. We have a name! We have an Etsy store! We have inspiration! We have materials! We have a model:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Big love for Smallable


My lovely friend, Jess, sent me the link to Smallable and made me oh-so happy. It's all of my favorite kid clothing brands in one place. Bam! Plus furniture and toys and more. Obviously, I am digging the neutrals.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Zulily Alert - Jelly the Pug

Ack! I can't even handle the cuteness of these little frocks from Jelly the Pug. I love the bright colors and the mixing of patterns, not to mention the added details like the huge red bow. I bought the third dress down for Baby Jo because it has a hood! Just came on Zulily today.

All photos from Zulily.com

Thoughts on our home birth

First I'll start off by saying that a home birth isn't for everyone. We were 100% committed to an un-medicated birth, and I was low-risk. It really worked for us, but I believe that expectant parents should only choose a birth location where they feel comfortable (home, hospital, birthing center, or wherever).

Nick and I took an interesting path with our pre-natal care. We actually started at an OB office. I've never had an OB so I asked a friend who was pregnant at the time who she was using. The first ultrasound at 6 weeks to confirm a heartbeat was easy. They scheduled all of my pre-natal visits throughout the nine months and even mailed me a copy. The office was schmancy and the front desk staff were all super helpful. 

Our first actual doctor visit at 12 weeks was with a nurse practitioner. Nick had the flu and had to stop on Michigan Avenue to throw up. Nice, eh? The NP was knowledgeable and friendly, but she seemed really stuck in her routine, like she had memorized her whole 12 week appointment shpeal,  and didn't make eye contact with me or even address Nick. It just didn't feel right, for either of us. I was really looking for a more woman-centered care model. 

So I looked into a few midwifery practices and we transferred our care to the midwives at Prentice Women's Hospital (at Northwestern). The midwives work in a rotation so you meet with all of them before you go into labor. Everyone we saw there was great: they took their time with us, asked me questions about my well-being, interacted with Nick, and seemed to take an interest in us as people, not just as patients. We had a brief period around 22-24 weeks where I was having weird cramps and started to dilate and the midwives were awesome. I really felt cared for and knew that I was in good hands. .

Then Nick and I started our nine week Bradley Method BirthCourse. First of all, I highly recommend a Bradley course for anyone who likes information. It's a lot of information. Yeah, nine weeks is a long time, but when we finished, Nick and I felt as prepared as we could have been at the time. Nick joked that he could now deliver babies for a living. 

Quick digression. I was born at home and had been pro-home birth from the start. Nick wasn't quite onboard, so I didn't push it. 

After each Bradley class we would talk about what we learned and what choices we wanted for our birth. It became clear to both of us that a hospital birth, especially one at Prentice (a hospital with soaring c-section rates), didn't seem right for us anymore. I'm a bit of a control freak so I wanted us to be as in control of our birth as possible. I didn't want to be pushed into anything based on a doctor's schedule or hospital preference. Both Nick and I wanted our birth to be un-medicated and intervention free. I wanted to know and feel familiar with everyone in the room with me during labor.

One day after class, Nick turned to me and said, "I'd like to look into home birth options." So we did. I was around 36 weeks at the time and there are really only two certified nurse midwives who do home births in the city, so we were hoping they could take me as a new patient that close to my due date. We really clicked with Sarah Simmons (New Life Midwifery) AND she had availability around my due date. So we transferred our care again. I'm sooooo glad we did.

The pre-natal visits with Sarah were night and day even from the midwives at Prentice. They often lasted 45 minutes long. Sarah would ask me questions or listen to my concerns, she'd take a look and feel my tummy, listen to the heartbeat, we'd schedule the next appointment, she'd give me a hug, and then I'd be on my way. I really felt like I was being cared for as a complete and complex woman instead of just a baby-vessel. 

After all that...our home birth was awesome and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Our midwife, Sarah, was amazing. She made me feel like I was in control and always presented me with options. She was calm and supportive. We felt safe in her care, and confident in her decision-making skills should an emergency arise (plus we live ten minutes away from a hospital). We were in our own home. We didn't have to worry about when to go to the hospital or even getting to the hospital. I labored in the dining room and in the bathroom and on the floor and in the birthing tub and on the futon. I got to labor in familiar surroundings, with people that I knew and trusted, and after Baby Jo was born we went to sleep in our own bed. She didn't leave my arms once. This home will be special forever because Jo was born here.

When I asked my mom why they chose a home birth with me, this is what she said:
Having a home birth was a choice we made based on our value system at the time.  We wanted to be at home with friends and people we knew, in the comfortable, familiar surroundings instead of a hospital room which screamed, "Institution".  The vibes and energy present were positive and caring. Nothing clinical. We wanted to deliver you as naturally as possible.  You know, woman have done this for years in a simple way with minimal to no medical support. No drugs, no unexpected changes due to circumstances out of our control. We could control the process as much as was possible....which is very little actually.  Maybe more of what we didn't want at the time. Since the birth went just fine and there were no complications, we were able to hold you and googoo you as much as we liked.  No medical intervention needed.  No IV's to trip over, no enema, nothing other than the basics. 
I love that our reasons for planning a home birth were so similar.

I'm still working on my birth story, but plan on posting that as soon as its done. In the meantime, here's a lovely picture of Jo, our midwife Sarah, and me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pumpa pumpa pumpa

Now that I'm back at work in the mornings and have rehearsals in the evenings, it feels like I'm pumping ALL THE TIME! If Baby Jo is asleep when I have to go, I pump. I pump at work. If she has just eaten or is asleep when I get home, I pump. After she goes down for the night, I pump. PUMP PUMP PUMP. I'm a pumping machine. Moo.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Way back when I was pregnant...

Back in August I did a test photo shoot with Callie Lipkin. She was working on a holiday project and needed help. Check out her site as she has pretty pretty pics to look at, especially the burlesque project.

As I was cleaning out my photo files in an effort to back up my computer I found these pics again. Here are a few of my faves from that shoot. Oh man, being pregnant in August was no fun. No fun at all.

All photos by Callie Lipkin, 2011.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Holy baby, Batman!

So Nick's favorite superhero is Batman. We have Batman comics on Jo's bedroom wall -- it used to be Nick's office and we didn't change much. This is one of four vintage comic book covers that we had framed, and it's my favorite. I told Nick he could put Batman on the wall as long as Poison Ivy was included.

When I was making super cute baby clothes before Jo was born I wanted to make a few outfits that Nick would love to dress Jo in as well. So I whipped up these little pants.

Then my sister, Liv, surprised us with this awesome Batman onesie that she printed herself (in two sizes).

Oh yeah, and I also made a pair of matching Batman shorts for Nick...I just haven't gotten a picture of them quite yet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finance for babies

I really want this Harry Allen bank in the form of a pig for Jo. It's shiny and purple. It can help teach fiscal responsibility. And my maternal grandparents had a pig farm, so it would also be a part of our family heritage. We can teach Jo about our roots. Oink.
This one is on Fab.com right now.

Zulily Alert + Valentine's Day = CUTE

Sweet Peanut pops up on Zulily pretty often and I've gotten Jo a few things each time. The prints are fresh and fun and the fabrics are soft. It's perfect baby lounge-wear. In honor of Valentine's Day coming up, here are a few of my  favorites. Lovely.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sweet as honey

I love these little girl dresses and tops from Honey Collection New York. They are adventurous and worldly and feminine and I want them all for Jo AND me. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Best onesie ever!

This is my favorite onesie of all time! I mean it. It's super super soft and silky and stretchy. It fit Jo when she was first born (it was just a tiny bit big), and it still fits now that she is a 15 pound tank. There's actually still a little room left. Don't mind the spit-up on her stomach.

And yes, Baby Jo was wearing legwarmers again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bevy of beauty supplies

I just got my Birchbox box today and it inspired me to write this post.

I love love love beauty products (make-up, skin care, hair stuff, you name it). I also love samples -- they are so cute and little and useful. So it's no surprise that I fell in love with Birchbox. Birchbox is a subscription service that sends you a nifty box of deluxe beauty samples every month. If you like any of the samples it's super easy to buy the full size product online.

I'm addicted to a couple of the products already.

Jouer Lip Enhancer is magical. It's super creamy (not sticky), has a hint of pink, and doesn't have an icky taste. It's also supposed to minimize fine lines and do a little plumping. Yay!  

Ok, seriously, this stuff is amazing. Sunday Riley Modern Skincare Juno Transformative Lipid Serum (yeah, it has a super long name) honestly makes my skin glow. Since Baby Jo was born my skin hasn't been a huge priority considering sometimes I'm too tired to even wash my face (don't ask about brushing my teeth). This serum is the perfect fix. It's quite herb-y smelling (according to Nick), but makes me look so dewy that I don't even care. It's expensive ($125 for 30 ml), but you use less than a dime-size amount so it lasts quite a while. It's a total treat. Yippee!

On a sad note, I dropped this bottle the other day and it broke on the bathroom floor. I managed to save at least half of what was left. I will cherish every drop until it's gone.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gross?? Part 2

So I just realized that there is breastmilk on my phone AND on my laptop screen.

Oh yeah, and how many days in a row can I use dry shampoo instead of actually washing my hair?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raw materials

I just got these fabrics from FabricWorm. They will be turned into magical baby-wear for our soon to be finished Etsy store. Yippee! I love it when I can't wait to get started on a project. Be on the lookout for some new ninja pants and kimonos!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nipple Freak

When my family was here for Christmas, my mama brought my first baby book (I have three since I'm the oldest and had the most pictures taken of me). We flipped through the book and oooh'd and aaaaah'd at how cute I was, but more importantly, picked out the pictures that look the most like Baby Jo. She certainly has my eyes. I'll scan a few in and post them in a different post.

This is the picture I was actually looking for. This is me with my Grandpa Don (my dad's dad). If you can't read it, my onesie says, "nipple freak." I certainly was. I so wish this onesie was in the bag of clothes I got from my mama from when I was a baby. Sadly, it was not.

The reason I wanted to find this picture is to celebrate the healing of my nipples! (Sorry to any of you that don't want to read about my nipples. Any sort of body modesty flew out the window when I was having Jo.) You heard it here first, folks, my nipples have healed! It's party-time. Jo's loving it too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

i heart ittikid


I cruised ittikid all the time before Jo was born. Almost every day. Seriously. I mean, let's be real, I'm a scandi-phile. Is that a word? I would probably put Baby Jo in anything Scandinavian. All of these little lovelies are bright and quirky, and to quote my little sister, "adorbs." I also love that so many of their clothes are unisex.

I'm particularly drawn to the brand Plastisock. They were on Zulily earlier this year and I'm kicking myself for not snagging anything.

My mama bought these little leggings for Baby Jo. They make me smile. C'mon, they are lime green and bright orange baby leggings for fat little baby legs!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fashion show

Here is another outfit my mama and I made during our pre-Jo sew-a-thon. Mama made the pants and I made the kimono. It's great fun now that some of these things finally fit, especially since we seem to be going through at least three outfits a day (due to spit-up, pee, poop, etc...).

The best part is the butt of the pants matches the trim on the top.

The blanket Jo is lying on is actually one of my baby blankets. It's such a lovely keepsake.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


So when Jo spit up today and I couldn't find a spit rag I just used my shirt to clean it up. Seemed logical to me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Poop Patrol

So we're using cloth diapers. Mostly. Jo gets disposables sometimes at night or when we're traveling, but for the most part we're using cloth.

Before Jo was born, Nick and I discussed the diaper situation. We were both leaning towards cloth for various reasons: it's cheaper than disposables, a little easier on the environment (depending on your washing machine), and most importantly, we imagined that soft cloth would feel soooooo much better on Baby Jo's bottom. Nick said that he would definitely want cloth diapers if he was wearing them. My only drawback was not wanting to deal with the poop, so Nick volunteered to be on poop patrol. He said, "Don't buy a diaper sprayer, I'll just use a spatula from the kitchen." Um...ok.

Now that we're three months in, I really really really like using cloth. We've experimented with a couple different kinds and gDiapers seem to work perfectly for us. I love the bright colors of the covers, and they're slimmer than the bulk of prefolds so her booty isn't crazy big.

We're using the gDiaper cloth inserts (although I've found that a prefold will actually fit quite well too). The biodegradable inserts are great, but I prefer the cloth. There's something really satisfying about not throwing anything away during a diaper change. I mean, it's really satisfying. And cloth + bio insert = perfect for nighttime. 

When the gDipes are in the laundry we use prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers with various covers (the kind with gussets and snaps are my favorites). Actually, BBJ (before Baby Jo) Green Mountain Diapers was a super valuable resource since I knew nothing about cloth besides the safety pins and rubber pants my mother used for us. I don't know if I'd make it with cloth if we had to use the pins and rubber pants. 

Wet bags make changing on the go easy. Not even the poop bothers me. Whenever there's a blow-out we just laugh. I'm not even grossed-out. It's hilarious. How weird is that? And since breastfed-baby poop is water soluble it's actually really easy to deal with -- just rinse dipes in a cold rinse in the washing machine before a hot/cold cycle. I'll put Nick on poop-duty when we start solids.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Keeping it real

Baby Jo got these awesome Le Big leg warmers from her Auntie Liv. They are quite hip, but then again, so is Jo...and Auntie Liv. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Year-end reflections

Every so often I look at Nick and say, "Isn't it weird that we have a baby?" It IS so weird though. Last year at this time we were completely child-free -- planning on children, but not for a while. I'll always remember Super Bowl Sunday when Nick couldn't help but blurt out to our friends that we thought I was pregnant. We went through three pregnancy tests before I could shake my state of denial (don't bother with the tests that show you a plus or minus sign, go straight for the ones that actually say "pregnant" or "not pregnant"). And then I cried. I cried a lot at first. Actually, I cried a lot throughout the pregnancy and even after. I'm a crier. But seriously, at the time being pregnant put a major kink in my plans.

And now I sit and watch Johanna fall asleep and I can't imagine my life without her. She's my #1 priority. Hands down. I would do anything for her -- give up anything. Nick and I lay in bed and just look at her sleep. She's so amazing and she can't even do anything yet. She's probably the most-kissed baby in the world. How can I help myself, have you seen her cheeks?

Last year at this time I was getting ready to start rehearsals for a show, drinking whiskey, and spending probably too much money on myself. Funny how quickly things can change. This year I'm actually getting ready to start rehearsals for a show again, I'm not drinking whiskey anymore (hello, breastfeeding), and my spending habits have been cut drastically. And...I'm a mama! That's weird... and by "weird" I mean AWESOME!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monkey and Moose

BBJ (before Baby Jo), my mama and I went crazy with sewing baby clothes. We had "sew" much fun...hehehe. My mama made this little moose top for my little monkey. It's super rugged. It's also super warm and cozy.

Jo is grabbing everything now...and pulling everything.

Babies Gone Wild