Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Stash Along March: Special

You Made IT!

February was a tough one, wasn't it? But you did it. You made it. You are amazing! If you want to, keep going with the Freeze. See if you can make it to 50 or 100 days. The longer you go, the more dependent you become on your stash, which in turn creates the habit of going to stash first instead of always heading to the store when you start a project. The more stash you use up the more space you will have in your house.

Now, the theme for March is Special. After having gone an entire month without adding to your stash, I hope that you are getting to know exactly what is in your stash, not just have a vague idea of what is in there. And this is part of the challenge this month.

You know you have it. A special skein, or special fabric, or special piece of paper. It's SPECIAL you have to have the perfect project for it. Or the 'right time' to use it.

Now is the time.

Take that Special piece, and use it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jaq Rant: Co-Sleeping

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Recently a new mother asked for some advice online. Her baby is struggling to sleep and she received an abundance of advice. One thing I noticed was a recurring theme of people encouraging her to "Co-sleep" because it works miracles for their child.

Here's the deal, this mother is a friend of mine. And guess what? They already co-sleep!

But they don't bedshare. The advice she was receiving was to bedshare. And people were shaming her for not bedsharing. (I'm sure it was unintentional, but that's how it came across to me.)

What's the difference? Well, co-sleeping is, by current definition, sleeping in the same room as your child. Your child can be in their crib on the other side of the room, they can be in a co-sleeper, or when they get older they can be on a mat on the floor next to your bed. Doesn't matter, if they are in the same room you are co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is actually recommended by the American Acadamy of Pediatrics.

Bedsharing is exactly what it sounds like, sharing a bed with your child. It is a subset of co-sleeping, but it's not the type of co-sleeping I am comfortable with all of the time. And most of the mothers I know seem to agree, including my friend who asked for advice online.

Now, I'm not going to tell everyone to stop doing it because if it works for you then it works for you. However, this is the type of co-sleeping that most people, especially pediatricians and other professionals,  think of and advise against because it is dangerous for babies. This is because there are pillows and sheets and blankets on the bed and those are what pose a suffocation risk. Also, sometimes a parent will not wake up when they roll over onto a child, or the parent may rearrange pillows or blankets in their sleep in a way that is dangerous to the child in the bed with them.

If you don't bedshare, then what can you do? Besides just having the crib in your room there are co-sleepers. These are cribs that are designed to have a side drop down, and then the crib attaches to your bed. We used an Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet, Natural, and I think it's wonderful. Why? Because Monkey was right there. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I could just stick my hand out and know that she is ok and breathing. I didn't have to get up and walk into another room when she cries, only to find out she's still dead asleep (and, yes, my child will scream-cry in her sleep) and I could have stayed in bed. And I don't think it's spoiling her for her to know that I am right there, that she falls asleep while staring at me. I think it's beneficial for her to know that Mommy is right there for her, and if for some reason Mommy isn't there, Daddy is there too.

Hard to see, but on the right side of the co-sleeper is our bed. Its right against it, so there is no gap between the two.
Also, Look at how little Monkey was! 
The moral of this story is to say what you mean, and make sure you know the actual meaning of the word you are using. (Princess Bride, anyone?)

To sum up:
Co-sleeping means the child is in the same room as you.
Bed Sharing means the child is in the same bed as you.


End of Jaq Rant

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Quilt Along: 9 Patch a Day

I often see sew alongs on Instagram. People all gather together and make the same quilt pattern, or bag, or follow a challenge guideline like "colorful". I love seeing them. Sometimes I even try to join in. Memorably was the log cabin block swap where every participant made a certain number of blocks out of Bonnie and Camille fabrics, sent them in, and received blocks back from other participants.
Bonnie and Camille Log Cabin quilt top. It's being sent to the quilter later this month! 

In my spare time (ha! let's be honest, I do this while breastfeeding or pumping) I've been looking at quilty things on Pinterest. And I happened on a pin that I thought, "Hey, I could do that."

And so, I propose this Quilt-Along, join me if you wish.

9 Patch a Day.

How I envision it working:

Every day for the month of March make a 9 patch block of any size you wish. You get some 'free' days, with the goal that  you will have a total of 30 blocks to assemble in a quilt. .

I don't want to give much instruction past that because quilts are like people. Each one is different and beautiful. Use scraps. Buy new fabric. Stash dive. It's all up to you!

Feel free to join in on Instagram with #9patchaday and follow me @AuntJaq

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Books 2017

(I'm trying a new thing here, and have to let you know that some of the links in this post are part of a paid affiliate program.)

I have to admit, I love reading. However, no amount of research or mommy blogs or panicked calls to my mother prepared me for this.

We are a full month and a half into 2017 and I've only read one book.

As someone who used to read a book a day on a good week, and one a week or so on an 'off' week, this was a bit alarming. I mean, I read. It's what I do. It's a huge part of who I am.

I have a memory of trying to convince my friends back in grade school to do a read-a-thon with me one summer. When all of them refused, I pulled out a blanket, a pile of books, and had my own read-a-thon on the front lawn, you know, in case someone happened to pass by and wanted to join me.

I've got a pile of books on the couch, just waiting for me to read them. Yet, every time I seem to reach for them something happens.

I call it the Mommy Sense. You see, babies have this Mommy Sense. They can sense when mommy is about to do something. It could be something necessary like starting the laundry, it can be work related like sitting down to write a blog post or finally get to editing that book, or it could be when mommy thinks you are napping but really you are waiting for her to sit down and do something that she thinks is relaxing because that's what it was in her life before you. But we all know that life before the Baby is this mystical land in which no one spits up, or cries just because they want snuggles, or refuses to sleep at 2 am.

I get it. "Brown Bear", "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom", and "Rosie Revere, Engineer" are the best I can hope for now.

At least until someone decides that naps and bedtime are actually a good thing.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tummy Time from Day One

Tummy time. Some babies hate it, some just tolerate it. Mine, well, Monkey generally loves it. And I feel a reason she does is because we've been doing Tummy Time from the day we brought her home from the hospital.

What? From the day she came home? Yep. You see, I felt strongly that if we introduced her to things early, she wouldn't know to not like them. So, we started tummy time, among other things, the first few days and weeks of her life.

How did we do tummy time with a brand new baby? I'm about to tell you.

Typical Tummy Time

We did your typical tummy time, where we set Monkey on her tummy on the floor. But, we also lay down on the floor next to her. When she was too young to have head control, we would be sure to lay on the side that her head was turned to. As she gained more control, I would switch which side I was on so she could start to learn how to turn her head in a specific direction.

The key to this method when they are so young is to be right by them, and talking to them. Reassure them that you are right there, they are doing great, isn't this fun, you just lifted your head!, and so on. If Monkey is having a particularly difficult time (a little fussy), I will rest my hand on her back or stroke her hair. However, we do not force her to keep doing a session if she is distressed.

Now that she's older, I will place several toys within her reach, on the floor around her as we do tummy time. She likes looking at them, but has yet to reach for them since she's still figuring out what her arms are supposed to do while on her tummy.

Alternative Tummy Time for Newborns

This is a method we used when Monkey was less than a month old. After that we only did traditional tummy time.

One of us, usually my husband, would lay flat on our back on the floor. We then would let Monkey lay on her stomach, on top of us. So we are laying belly to belly, as pictured below.

This is what worked for us. She never fussed or got distressed when we did tummy time like this. Which makes a lot of sense, being so fresh from the womb where she hears my heartbeat all the time, this position allowed her for full body contact with us, hearing our heartbeats, and feeling us breathe.

Of course, this wasn't a a magical solution. She still has times where she is not going to have it with tummy time, but I feel like she does a lot better than she could be doing when I talk to other moms about how their babies cope with tummy time.

Try it out and let me know how it goes!