Friday, January 30, 2009

CPSIA news

Breaking news about the CPSIA here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Power napping

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg - Her Dream

Cooper took a really long nap after our busy weekend and he was so tired I was able to turn the lights on and take a few pictures of him sleeping.

Then he went from sleep to play mode in 5 seconds.

A nice long nap makes for a happy baby and happy parents.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Help save handmade toys

I'm a huge fan of Etsy, a website for buying and selling handmade goods. (If you haven't checked it out yet, do it now - you'll love it.) The Etsy community, and other makers of handmade children's products, are pretty upset (as am I) about the CPSIA, a law that will take effect this month. The CPSIA came about because of all the children's products with lead and harmful chemicals. It sounds like a good idea (I mean, who doesn't want to protect kids, right?), but there are some major problems with the law as it is now.
Please please please take a few minutes to check out the Handmade Toy Alliance to read about the CPSIA and then contact your Congressman and Senator.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Highlights from our week...

Cooper had his 15-month doctor's appointment this week. After much reading and research, I decided to go ahead and do the MMR as one shot. Cooper got the chicken pox vaccine too. I'm completely (and I know, probably irrationally) freaked out about the shots, but from what I read it seemed like the best thing to do.

After his height, weight, & head were measured, the doctor said he's thin! I guess he is, especially now that he's walking, running, & flailing constantly, but I just couldn't believe it! I'm so used to him being a roly-poly little guy. He used to be in the 90th percentile for height & weight, but he's now in the 50th for height & 35th for weight. Someone even referred to him as a "tiny little thing" recently. Crazy.

Flashback - Cooper at 3 months

My skinny boy

If you're wondering why Cooper's naked in the kitchen playing with wipes it's because he had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad (& leaky) diaper. It was so bad I didn't even try to use the changing table - just laid down one of the soft dog beds, covered it with a towel, & changed him right there in the kitchen. Then I let him run around naked & play with wipes just to keep him busy while I cleaned up the mess. Yuk. (Perfect posing for hiding the naughty bits, huh? Remember, he is a professional.)

It may be time for another haircut soon too; four strangers have referred to Cooper as "her" or "she" in the past week. He's been wearing red shirts when it happened - nothing girly. What's up with that?!

Today we had my friend Joslyn's daughter Althea's first birthday party. I made this outfit for Althea:

Cooper & the birthday girl really seemed to have a great time...

Joslyn & Althea

Althea very delicately enjoying her birthday cake

I swear, he usually doesn't wear a bow in his hair.

Happy birthday Althea!

Playdate with Zak & Caycee

Dayna, Zak, & Caycee came over for dinner, some playing, & a bath the other day. I would have loved to get pictures of the bath, but we were drowning in bubbles (the "ten thousand bubbles in minutes" claim on the box of the bubble blower was not an exaggeration) & the kids had me & Dayna outnumbered so it wasn't an ideal place for the camera.

Interesting thing: Caycee used the sign for 'finished' or 'done' when she said she was done in the bath - she's apparently learned the sign from seeing Cooper do it! How cool!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I'm really missing summer.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


to my brother Justin, who was honored today by Bridgeview's Lions Club as "Veteran of the Year".

Zak, Cooper, & Caycee playing with Grandma at the luncheon

Justin receiving his plaque

Justin saying thank you, with a few little visitors

Friday, January 16, 2009

A week as shut-ins

It's been cold here. I mean COLD. Cold cold.
I normally try to get out of the house every day, but it's just been too snowy or cold this week. We went to our gym class and Target on Wednesday, but other than that we haven't left the house.
I've been trying to occupy nap time with sewing, but I have a bunch of projects in mind or started that I'm missing an important element for (like a certain color of thread). So mostly Cooper & I have been lounging in pajamas (it's really hard to get motivated to get dressed), shocking each other (it's really, really dry & staticky), playing "what toy am I reaching & whining for in the toy box?" (it's a trick question; I emptied the toy box twice before I realized there is no toy that is satisfying), and learning to eat with a spoon.
Thankfully, the weather is improving & we'll be leaving the house much more often now.

Cooper in his loungy clothes & slippers enjoying a snack

Aah.. sweet, cheesy success!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things that make you go hmm..

When you're having a baby you wonder what he'll look like or be like, and there are certain things that you just assume, or that you don't even assume because it never crosses your mind. You just expect that he'll be like you and his father.
But then sometimes you start to notice certain things & it makes you start to wonder. At first you think it's a fluke, then maybe it's just a phase. But you begin to think that maybe he's not like you.
John and I sometimes watch Cooper and share a look. One of us says, "Do you think he's... I mean, is it to young to tell if he's..."
It's not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just that it's different. People that are different can have a difficult time in the world. There's an assumption that everyone is one way and a lot of things are geared toward those people.
There was a time when he'd be forced to try to be like most people; maybe even be punished for being different. Thankfully, things aren't like that anymore. And there is some family history - a few people on John's side of the family and a few on my side, so it's not outside the realm of possibility and at least he'd know people like himself.
We may have to make a few accommodations. Maybe it'll be a little awkward sometimes when we're out at dinner - some elbow jabs here and there. But probably we won't even notice it; it'll be so much a part of him, just like everything else, that we won't even think about it.
He's young; maybe he's just experimenting. Nothing's set in stone, but the more time that goes by and the more things I notice him doing, the more I realize that it's time to recognize that it's a very real possibility that this will not pass & that this is who my son is. So I'm trying to learn about people like him, and find out what I can do to make his life a little easier, a little less complicated, just so I'm ready.
So here I am, saying it to the world - I think my son might be left-handed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Phoebe

I just read my last post & realized I'm Phoebe from that Pottery Barn episode (The One with the Apothecary Table) of Friends!

Oh, the Places You'll Go is the best book ever... and it's MINE

So I have an obsession with Dr. Seuss, particularly the book, Oh, the Places You'll Go. It's not 'cause I'm a mom either. I've always loved it. Oh, the Places You'll Go is probably the best book ever written. Ever. I've read it a hundred million times.
It is also the only perfect book (that I've found at least) for everyone. In my past life (before Cooper) when I worked with kids involved with the Department of Children & Family Services, I really liked the idea of giving my clients books, but they were all different ages (babies to 21), and very different reading levels, & the younger kids are easy enough to find books for, but the pre-teens & teenagers were more difficult. Some clients had family or friends they could count on, but most didn't. I thought of a lot of books that I liked when I was younger, but they all involve someone dying, or depending on family, or they were somehow just not appropriate for the kids I worked with. Try finding a wholesome book that is easy to read, is hopeful (because the saddest part about the DCFS population of kids is that very few of them have any hope at all and there usually isn't anyone around them telling them they should have any hope), and doesn't tell you that you can always depend on your family - it's not easy.
OTPYG was easy to read, but didn't seem like a baby book. It's inspiring, but it's honest. My two favorite parts of the book are:
"All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot. And when you're alone, there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won't want to go on."
"And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!"
So I kept several copies on my shelf in my office to give to clients for birthdays, graduations, or accomplishments.
So, of course, when I got pregnant with Cooper, I insisted that we do an Oh, the Places You'll Go themed room for him. Dr. Seuss books aren't the most common themes for nurseries, and when they are it's usually The Cat in the Hat, which is also good, but far inferior to Oh, the Places You'll Go. John spent countless hours tracing, copying pictures freehand, and painting to create Cooper's room.

Cooper's favorite - a "boon" (balloon)

John decided to add Sam I Am too.

We got a Pottery Barn Kids catalog in the mail the other day & I gasped when I saw the cover (no, Cooper wasn't on it). They have a line of "Oh, the Places You'll Go" kids room items. What?! That was MY idea.
So now Cooper might not be the only kid on the block with an Oh, the Places You'll Go room. (Although he will be the only one with the coolest Oh, the Places You'll Go room.) Sort of annoying to me, but I guess it's for the greater good.
To Cooper, and those other kids, & you too:
"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Latest projects

I finally finished Cooper's sweatshirt. It took me three trips to the store to get the right zipper. I thought about putting a hood on it (mostly for my own practice; Cooper hates hoods on his sweatshirts), but I just couldn't get it quite right.

I also found a great tutorial here about how to make toddler pants out of an old t-shirt. I stole one of John's t-shirts (mostly against his will) and made these. They're nice loungy yoga-y pants (he does downward dog, I swear) & I wish I could find an old t-shirt large enough to make a pair of them for me!

Cooper has chosen a new project for me. I didn't make him a superhero cape for Christmas when I made Zak's 'cause I figured he just wasn't old enough, but he found an old bib recently & he's been making us put it on him, backwards. So I think I'll be making him a real cape of his own soon. His superpower? Lately it's opening doors with doorknobs.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My new project

I just started on this & I fully expected it to be a failure (although there's still time for that!), but it's coming along great so far! I need to buy a zipper for it & I have to decide if I should put a hood on it or not.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cooper celebrating the new year

The fireworks woke Cooper a few minutes after midnight so he joined us to celebrate.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cooper in print

We got the One Step Ahead catalog (one of my favorites, even before Cooper graced its pages) and Cooper's all over it! There are the two pictures I posted about before (the traveller & the sensory balls), plus the elongate.

"Sew" excited!

Yeah, sorry about the pun.
I finished my first project on my new sewing machine!
Before Christmas I had a $20 "mending machine" I bought at Wal-Mart five years ago. Yep, they couldn't even pretend it was a sewing machine. Obviously, my Christmas craft projects did were pretty slow going on that thing. I'm sure it didn't help that I'm a complete idiot when it comes to working a sewing machine so that probably didn't help, but I'm going to just pretend it was all because of the machine. I only managed to complete everything because my mom & John's mom were nice enough to lend me their machines (thanks again!).
When my mom saw how pitiful my machine was she rushed out to buy me a real sewing machine for Christmas (at least that's what I imagine must have happened).
Cooper loves the new machine. He keeps pulling the chair out & whining when we don't sit him up on it.

I found fire engine material before Christmas & I thought Zak would love it, so I decided to make some bean bags for him. Because I'm pretty slow (I'm not talking speed wise, although I'm slow that way too) and I was without a real sewing machine, I decided to put this project off for later. But now I was able to do it so I just need to find a bucket or something to make a bean bag toss game & these will be ready for Zak. I hope he likes them.

Now the hard part is deciding on my next project; I have tons I want to do. I'm thinking maybe some applique shirts for Cooper or a sock monster. There's just too much to choose from.

Crafty Christmas

I decided to make some Christmas gifts this year and I have been excited to post about my projects, but figured I should wait until after Christmas. (I may even have a project or two to post about later since they have not been gifted yet...)

I gave a bunch of mixes in jars, including this s'mores mix (sorry, the picture's kinda blurry). It looked really cute in the jar, but seemed a little suspect so I made a few batches. It was so good! I'll definitely be making that again. The mixes weren't as easy or cheap (for some reason I always think, 'if I make it, it will be FREE!' but it's really not - duh) as I thought they be, but I love how they came out. Totally worth it.

I made superhero cape for Zak, with much help from my mom - thanks Mom! I'm dying to make one for Cooper, but I think he's probably still a little young. I love how this turned out, & it's reversible!

Zak wearing his new cape (oops, it's a little too long)...

and Caycee trying it on too...

She's probably still a little young, but I couldn't resist - I made a tutu skirt for Caycee. Here it is on an unnamed model:

I found a feather boa, angel wings (they came with a halo headband!), and a magic wand for a whole dress up set. Here it is all packaged up:

Caycee even tried it on (not that we gave her much of a choice)...