Apr 29, 2013

Parenting Post - Farewell to Sleep

Disclaimer: I am, by no means, a professional in terms of psychology, doctoring, or even giving advice.  My intent is to only share my trials, tribulations, and experiments in Mommy-dom.

As I was perusing my blog and developing some ideas for posts, I stumbled across an old post from October.  I lamented about being a new MOM and some of the crazy ideas bouncing around in my head.

Now that I'm well on my way into parenthood (E is 10 months old), I feel like an update might be in order.

We have many things happening, all at one time and life is, on occasion, a jumbled mess.  I'm happy to say that many of the misgivings and fears that I had about doing the "right" thing by your child have dissolved with the many tears that both E and I have cried over the months.  Now if only the body metamorphosis would melt in the same way, I'd be golden.

Although I don't have a solution for my current Mommy issue, E has boycotted sleep and therefore, I am inadvertently boycotting sleep, I will keep you posted.

Somewhere around 9 months old, E caught a cold and then, as is his usual MO, it triggered an ear infection.  This is always fun, E is in pain and has all kinds of bowel issues, thanks to antibiotics (which are optional, but you run the chance of a ruptured ear drum).

So, the general rule is, babies need lots of love during periods of illness and all of the normal, well, norms are dropped until they are better.  Ten days go by and he appears to be all healed up and happy, except for the fact that he has quit sleeping through the night.  I should preface this with the fact that he's been sleeping, with a few exceptions, steadily through the night since 10 weeks old AND had also been good with falling back to sleep on his own.

Now he does not appear to sleep soundly and is only getting about 11 hours of the 14 total hours that a 10 month old requires in a 24 hour period.  Although it's somewhat annoying to get up 4 times at night to comfort him, I knew what I signed on for when I decided to become a parent and my biggest issue is that I fear he's not getting enough sleep overall for him to be healthy.

At the moment, I feel, it's a combo of a few things:  learning to pull up, cruising, teething, moving to a new home and new daycare, gas, separation anxiety, and bedtime routine instability.  We now have a regimented bedtime routine and he seems happy with daycare and our new home, but the other things are all developmental and I'm stuck with them.  I just hope that his lack of sleep doesn't affect his general well-being (I'm keeping a detailed sleep log and will discuss with the doctor if it continues).

Currently, I'm struggling with my method for sleep training.  As any parent probably knows, there are 50 different ideas about this subject and thousands of opinions about their merits or lack thereof.  I was in the camp of Cry It Out and being all hard-nosed, until I tried it....E cried for 2 hours....and vomited.   I do not think this is how it's supposed to go and so I abandoned that theory for now.  Unfortunately, I just can't find something that seems to work for my son and so I just "spoil" him with rocking, holding, and cajoling to sleep until I can figure something else out.

All suggestions are welcome, but I will be mean in answering if I get any mean comments...just a fair warning from a sleep deprived, probably soon to be PMS-ing, female.

Just for a kick of irony:

Apr 24, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Oaklet Shawl

Here's my new WiP.  I am steadily plowing through the stockinette part.  Of course, I love the yarn and I'm always excited to see the color changes.

Pattern: Oaklet Shawl
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock - Smokestack
Needles: US6 - 4.0mm

Apr 23, 2013

Product Review - Fast Metabolism Diet - Week 2

The Fast Metabolism Diet - Week 2

My first week is completed.

Here are my thoughts so far:

The first two days were difficult because I felt hungry, even though I don't think I really was hungry (I'm thinking it was thirst).  Because of all the fruits and veggies, I found myself running to the restroom fairly often for tinkle time....it was like being pregnant.  The second two days (Phase II) were the hardest of all because I'm not a big meat eater, but since I LOVE eggs (and egg whites), it worked out just fine.  The last three days were, by far, my favorite...I enjoy eating nuts and adding coconut oil to my food...Mmmmm.....

Now I've started on week 2 and I feel as though I have a handle on everything and hopefully the meal packing and planning will be easier.  I find it slightly challenging when we're sharing meals with others, only because we have to plan a meal that will work for all of us and not cost a small fortune.

I didn't really touch on that point too much, but keep in mind that the food for this diet is expensive as there are foods that I would normally not eat.  An example is the deli meat, the kind that is ideal for the diet has many restrictions and therefore is quite pricey, but as it's the most convenient protein source for two working parents, it's what we decided to eat for lunch and/or snacks as a protein.  Normally, we don't have any deli meats around at all.

One thing I'm missing, is dairy.  Specifically, I mean cheese.  I love cheese.  We have an on-going love affair that has now cooled for the next few weeks.  So I'm suffering a bit over that, but in reality, the foods are really delicious and the recipes in the book are super helpful because I don't have to work too hard to plan things.

Here is my menu for week 2 (Mr. Hollybroke has some slight variations based on preference):

Click to make it larger

Now, copying from Tammy of Skinny Mom's Kitchen, here are my stats for Week 2:

Starting Weight (SW) : 153.6 lbs

Goal Weight (GW) : 133.6 lbs (I just did 20 lbs, I don't have a goal, really)

Current Weight (CW) : 151.0 lbs

Weight Loss (WL) : 2.60 lbs

Notes:  I've discovered that I've gained two whole pounds of water weight as my little visitor is arriving this week to torture me for a few days.  Hopefully, next week you will be able to see that I've lost a decent amount of weight.  

Apr 22, 2013

PCH - Countertop Faux Granite Finish DIY

I spoke a little about this project in relation to my "built-ins" in our library.  We bought a hutch from Overstock with a wooden counter top ...wood was not fitting into my ideas for this room as we're going with yellows, turquoise/aqua, silvery/nickel metals, and white.

In comes a faux finish that resembles granite.  I have to say that it looks pretty danged good.  Now, I have to preface that by saying, Mr. Hollybroke is not the most creative/crafty man, but we put him in charge anyway to do the "painting".  It looks awesome.  I'll quickly go through the steps, because if you think you can't do this, you absolutely CAN.  If my husband can do it, then anyone can (not to say he doesn't have talents elsewhere, just not when it comes to crafty home projects).

Here's what he did:

Granite kit (see below)
Counter top
Scrap Cardboard
600 grit sandpaper (painting section of the store)
Papertowels or a rag

1.  Get a counter top that you want to paint (wipe with water to make sure it's clean).

2.  Buy this : Giani White Diamond Granite Paint Kit for Countertops - it seems pricey, but if you compare it to the cost of a granite counter top, even one this small, it's negligible.

3.  Prime the counter top with the primer and primer brush (if your wood is not pre-finished then you must sand it first to get it smooth).  Let this dry.

4.  Lightly sand with 600 grit sandpaper, wipe clean

4.  Take the provided sea sponge and get it good and wet, then squeeze it out and let it dry.
                         A.  Practice the dotting/spotting on a piece of cardboard to get a feel for the paint.

5.  Apply the various colors included in the order that they are numbered...unfortunately Mr. Hollybroke didn't take a picture between each color, but they provide you with a sea sponge and paint that is numbered.  You must sand with the 600 grit sandpaper between each coat and remember to wipe it clean.

6.  Apply the clear coat. 

7.  Sand with 600 grit sandpaper.

8.  Repeat steps 6 & 7, two MORE times.  Your final sanding is very light.

  • Make sure to get around all the edges
  • When you wipe the sanding off, use some water to pick up debris
  • Once you start priming or clear coating, do not stop because it dries quickly
  • Be patient with the stippling and the drying, it will be worth it

Here's the hutch in all her glory (and filled up with our stuff):

Apr 19, 2013

Apr 18, 2013

Product Review - Fast Metabolism Diet - Week 1

Okay, so Mr. Hollybroke and I have made a pact to go on this diet "journey" together.  I've been inspired by some other bloggers to possibly share my experience on the World Wide Web (::shudders::).  As I already have a sort of product review piece on my blog, I figured I could combine the two.  So this will be done weekly, for four weeks.

I belong to this box-a-month type of club, although this one is structured a bit differently, but you get the idea and in my most recent box (Bikini Ready Cravebox), I received a pre-release of a book.  Please note that I pay for the box and do not receive anything for free and have not been endorsed either way for this review.

Photo from here

The book is called "The Fast Metabolism Diet" by Haylie Pomroy.  I won't go into too much detail about the diet itself, because, she would probably like for you to buy her book, but I will say that it's pretty intensive and I think I can survive it for four weeks.  I will share a little about the diet, since the info is available on her site and I will share my menu, but not the portion sizes or recipes (as they are in her book also).

The Fast Metabolism Diet (site link)

The diet is 4 weeks long and is purported to have you lose 20 lbs; according to Ms. Pomroy you can lose as much or as little weight as you desire based on portion size.
It has 3 phases that span over a week and you cycle through each phase once per week for 4 weeks (or more).
This diet is not meant to be a lifestyle diet change, it's just to speed up your metabolism and lose weight over the 4 weeks (or more) and then you go back to your regular diet (hopefully, with some healthy modifications).
The exercise routine that she recommends is quite strict, but again, only for the duration of the diet, so once the diet is over, you can go back to 7 days/week of cardio or not (in my case, NOT).

Quick Book Review : I think that the book is worth it for the guidance and recipes, but as for her weird analogies between your body and other various things (only word that encompasses her menagerie of examples), they are slightly extraneous and aren't really accurate.  I would not use her analogies to shape your knowledge of your body and precisely how it works, but it does work in a sort of loose way.

Now, here is my diet for Week 1:

Click to make it larger

Now, copying from Tammy of Skinny Mom's Kitchen, here are my stats for Week 1:

Starting Weight (SW) : 153.6 lbs

Goal Weight (GW) : 133.6 lbs (I just did 20 lbs, I don't have a goal, really)

Current Weight (CW) : 153.6 lbs

Weight Loss (WL) : 0 lbs

Just for some info, I'm about 5'6" to 5'7" and I'm also working to "recover" from having a baby.  It's been 10 months and I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but there are all kinds of changes and jiggly bits that I'd like to work on and we'll see where this diet takes me.  Also, once the diet is over, I will go back to my 3 days/week for 30 minutes, exercise routine.

Apr 17, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Serriform Shawlette FO

All done....I really did like this pattern, simple enough to watch TV with enough design to keep my mind working.  The yarn was truly a perfect match for the pattern and I very much enjoyed this knit.  I have not yet blocked this and I have no idea when that could possibly happen.

I hope you enjoy my little, aspiring, knit model...

Pattern: Serriform Shawlette
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Burnished; ~327 yds
Needles: US5 - 3.75mm
Made For: Unsure for now
Notes:  I took all precautions to make sure I would have the right amount of yarn to finish, but still I was wrong.  I have way too much yarn left and a shawl that is not as big as I was hoping.  I really thought I had it figured out this time....one day I will prevail.

Ravelry Project Page
Part of the Mad About Tosh Club from Twisted.

Next week I will show my  new WiP.

Apr 12, 2013

Photo Friday

(Bend in the Epte River -  Monet (Phil Museum of Art)

Apr 10, 2013

Yarn Review - Vintage - Berroco

Berroco Vintage is a nice wool blend yarn that is not itchy and provides quite a bit more stretch than I would have expected.  Vintage comes in several weights, and the one that I have used in the past and can review is the worsted weight (not to say that I do not own the DK and Bulky version...ahem).  Although I don't hear much about this yarn in the blogosphere it's a workhorse and I really like it.

I have made a project with this yarn, and it was quite a large project, by my estimation.  I knit a sweater that just did not come out the way that I would have liked.  It had nothing to do with the yarn and everything to do with the user....

The project was the February Lady Sweater, and here is my Rav project page.

I had a really hard time to get the color right on the computer and this is as close as I can get.  It's a dark gold base color with some faint flecks of a reddish color.  The saturation and hue are lovely and all the various colorways of the Vintage line are very visually appealing.

Weight: 100g
Yardage: 217yds
Fiber: 50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon

Ravelry Page

This yarn has a soft hand and great stretch.  The nylon really gives the yarn a well balanced stretch quality and then add to this, the acrylic and you're able to achieve a good "memory" for blocking.  With this yarn, it's a must to remember that it stretches and to probably go down a needle size for any project that was not designed with this yarn (or similar) in mind.  I made the mistake of going up a needle size, as I usually knit tightly and this was a massive mistake.  Even with my tight knitting gauge, I could have gone down a needle size.
In summary, I really like this yarn, it was great to knit with, offers up a lot of depth and eye appeal, has a soft hand, and is just as soft in the final product.  I can't complain too much about the price either.  You get a decent amount of yardage out of it and it goes a long way, again because of the stretch.  Also, it does not pill, which is always a plus in my book!

Apr 3, 2013

Being Crafty - Home Edition - PCH

I'm all moved in and ready to start morphing this house into our home.  We've completed the fireplace in the family room (posted about that here), had the TV mounted on the wall, and bought a rug to compliment the space.  I will show pictures once we finish selecting paint and hiding the cable paraphernalia.

Although this is not a knit or crochet WiP Wednesday, here is a work in progress on a room in our home.

Here is the room that I had the most brainstorming about so far, the formal living room.  Formal living rooms are treated very differently now than they were when people entertained guests in a much different fashion....FORMAL.  What this really means to people now, is a fancy room with "do not touch" stuff in it that you never ever use, not even for having guests over.  I wanted this room to be useful to us and our growing family, so Mr. Hollybroke and I decided to make it a sort of library, office space.  We have bigger plans in the future for this room as we want to convert it to our formal dining area and use the dining room to expand the kitchen, but this is many moons and lots of $$$$ away.

I started with just pinning things and creating a sort of rough inspiration board on Polyvore.  The room was dark gray with a greenish tint to it....the color itself was ok, but the room gets no sunlight and so remains quite dim and I decided we needed to go with a bright, saturated yellow.

Here is the living room, originally:

Here are the colors I chose, I will not put what paint brand I used, as I was not happy with its performance, but I'd like to recommend to spend a bit more money on your paint as this means you will only need one or two coats to cover instead of 5 or more.

Sunny Summer for under the chair rail and Summer Harvest for above.   The chair rail is white.  You can see here what I mean by several coats of paint and still the color below is coming through.

Next we had to decide on the "built-in" situation.  We don't have the kind of money required to hire a professional to make custom built installations, so we decided to do some extensive internet searching.  Ikea and Overstock had the best options for us and we purchased a wine rack from Overstock and the Liatorp bookcase, desk, and bridging shelf from Ikea.  Everything is white (wood tones are too difficult to match and white fits the idea better anyway).

We are now in the present.  Painting is complete and some of our "built ins" are together and in position. We used the largest Liatorp bookcase to give the illusion of floor to ceiling.  We are still investigating about removing the decorative molding on all the pieces and then adding some of our own molding so that it all matches.  The desk came next and we love it.  It's really quite large and looks so pretty in the space.

Here is a shot of our "Library".  We are still very much "in progress" as we look for more furniture, a rug, and some trinkets to tie it all together.  I'll show you the other pieces after we get them in place and loaded up with stuff.

We also had some DIY projects to do and I will post about those as well.  But, if you notice in this picture, that ugly vent register...?