Welcome Miss Daisy

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She’s here! She’s home, healthy, and oh so beautiful! I can’t believe she’s mine, that I made someone so pretty and sweet.  Giacomo adores her too. Before I had her I was so afraid that he would be resentful or upset because of the new baby and/or because of my surgery. I underestimated him for sure! The first thing he does in the morning is give her a kiss (if I’m lucky, I get one too, but she is #1 to him). I did cry, though, looking at how tall and grown he looked next to her. It didn’t help that he is so tall (he isn’t even 2 yet and is in 3T clothes). It’s so bittersweet, watching him grow, and now I get to have the emotional rollercoaster of mommyhood twice over with my little Daisy girl.

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When I first saw Daisy, I was in complete awe. I couldn’t believe that I made someone so perfect. I couldn’t hold her in my arms for a long time (the wait was much longer than when I had Jack), but I was able to touch noses with her little button nose, kiss her sweet soft cheeks, and laugh as she blew raspberries from her perfect plump lips. I know every mother thinks so, but I just couldn’t, and I still can’t believe how beautiful she is.

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My Daisy girl has been here a month and a half. But I feel like it’s been much longer. I feel like I’ve known her forever. I think because now I am constantly going. I’m pretty sure Jack and Daisy are in cahoots. Once one stops fussing the other needs my attention. It is tiring for sure, but never boring. And on those rare occasions where they both have naps in sync, the time is all the more blissful.

Mommyhood part 2 is much different. I remember spending most of my time with Jack holding, rocking, and soothing him, and on the rare occasions when he did sleep, I just watched him. It was a very sweet time, and it does not exist at all now! Not that I don’t want to hold Daisy all day and watch her sleep, but time is divided now. I have to put her down to play with Jack, and I have to make him wait when she fusses. I think he has adjusted better than I have. Jack has learned patience and he has not one ounce of jealousy in him, so I can tend to Daisy when I need to and he will wait for me to play with him. I also learned that my baby can cry for longer than a few seconds so I can finish feeding or changing my toddler.

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They are better at handling my divided time than me. I wish I could split apart and tend to them both all day. I’m sure that’s something all 2nd time moms think. But I knew this was coming, and it’s why I wanted to have children close in age. I knew they’d be better at adjusting than me because they are so young. I’m just anxious for the time when I have adjusted!

I took to using a baby carrier for Daisy. I tried with Jack but it didn’t work, I think because I didn’t have a “good” carrier. The one I have now is much more comfortable and made with small framed people in mind, so it’s much easier to use. Plus I get more done, and it’s a lot easier than lugging out the double stroller. The only downside I see is that Daisy isn’t as visible for pictures. (I know that sounds silly, but you know how I love my photos!) This weekend we went pumpkin and apple picking. I have some adorable shots of Jack but Daisy was too tucked away for pictures. (In reality, I wouldn’t have taken her out of her stroller for a picture, I’m just being whiney).

The night before Daisy was born I wrote them each a letter telling them how much I love them. Up until a minute ago, both of my babies were sleeping, something that rarely happens. But now I hear Daisy, so I guess blog and journal done for now. I should have been cleaning my house, as it is a complete disaster, but instead I thought a few minutes of journaling and blogging would be nice because I hope one day both Daisy and Jack can read the letter I wrote and look through my blog and see how much I love them.

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Using Transfer Paper to Make Freezer Paper Shirts

I went on a bit of a shirt making kick. I made maternity shirts, the baby shirts, and shirts for my husband, father, father-in-law, and brothers-in-law for Father’s Day. I learned quite a bit making them, and I like how they all turned out.

I made the baby a shirt for the 4th of July and a Finding Nemo inspired shirt, even though we probably won’t get to the movies to see Finding Dory with him.

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I also went a little crazy with Maternity shirts. I also made use of some glittler iron-on material I had for my heart and NJ shirts. My favorite is the watermelon shirt. The watermelon is in the Simply Charmed  cartridge for Cricut.

Maternity Shirts

I even made a Goonies shirt for my future little Goonie. I downloaded The Goonies font on Dafont. I think that one is Jack’s favorite.

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I created the Hockey Dad silhouette in Photoshop and uploaded it to design space. It’s my favorite! For the vintage looking dad/grandpa shirts, I found the Marcelle Script font on DaFont.com. It downloads with letters and different style swooshes.

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The thing with making freezer paper shirts is that it is really annoying putting all the tiny pieces in the proper place. (Especially with the “worn vintage” look of Marcelle Script, as well as characters like e, o, g, p, a, 4, 8, etc). When working with vinyl, most people usually use contact paper, plastic sticky paper used to line shelves, to transfer my cuts onto the surface. The problem is freezer paper isn’t actually sticky like vinyl. You have to iron the freezer paper onto the shirt for it to stick. Heat + plastic = bad,  so contact paper is out. Transfer tape is actually made to transfer vinyl to walls and objects, but a lot of brands are also plastic. I wasn’t sure if transfer paper would word or if the glue would ruin the shirts, but I figured I’d test it out and see. I made sure to get transfer paper made out of actual paper, not plastic.

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1 I cut the designs on the Cricut shiny side down on the mat. 2 I placed the transfer paper on the whole design 3 and rubbed well. 4 Figured out placement of design, 5 Then I ironed the design on low, dry heat. 6 After I removed the tape, 7 I ironed the design again with parchment paper, and it worked like a charm!

I was actually able to reuse the tape and transfer the design to 6 different shirts. I am sure I could have transferred more, but I only made 6 shirts at a time. The stickiness tape did not change much either. In fact, the transfers were easier the more I used the same piece.

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It seems obvious,  but I learned that it’s a lot harder to paint on a dark shirt than on a lighter colored shirt. I expected to have to use a few layers of paint for the dark shirts, but not as much as I actually used.  I think I’ll stick to painting designs on bright and light colored shirts, and using heat transfer vinyl on dark shirts.

Jack’s Big Announcement Photoshoot

Announcement

 

Jack finally spilled the beans! He will be a Big Brother in September! We tried to let Lilu be part of the announcement pictures also, but she was just eating the jelly beans.

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Oh well. I made the signs with some paint and my Cricut. The eggs were from Target, and I just used crayon to write on them. I had a great time making them even though I don’t know what I’m going to do with them now, maybe put them in the new baby’s memory box.

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When I found out, it was during one of the few snow storms we had this year. Matt was outside shoveling, so I left a note on the door that said “You make me sick!” He came in saying “What’d I do? and I told him to open the note. Inside read “Because you knocked me up.” He already had a hunch that I was pregnant anyway, and we celebrated with him drinking some wine and me having some ginger ale.
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I’m 14 weeks along right now. It still feels surreal, and I am a bit nervous still.  Jack is and this baby will be a Rainbow Baby, a term I only recently learned.  A Rainbow Baby is a baby born after a family has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. These babies are rainbows after terrible storms. Even though I am passed the “safe zone,” I am still worried. (I have gone through two miscarriages, and it was terrible. I cannot imagine the pain that accompanies full-term loss). I have been trying not to worry too much though. I believe that keeping in a positive state of mind and thinking good thoughts while pregnant will mean a happy thinking baby, so here’s to optimism and wonderful thoughts. We can’t wait to see who has been growing inside me all this time!
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Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday

It’s crazy to believe a whole year has gone by since my Mr. Man came into the world. I always say that the day he was born it felt like an explosion, that my heart grew 3 sizes that day like the Grinch. So for his first birthday, we had a Grinch themed party. Giacomo had such fun playing with his cousins, family, and friends.

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I would have just had pizza and subs, but my sisters and mom took over and insisted on cooking a feast of antipasto salad (Truffula Salad), chicken cutlets (Roast Beast), sausage and peppers, kielbasa, pierogies, baked beans, pasta, potatoes and peas (Who Hash), and a 6 foot sub.  For I took over and went crazy.I couldn’t have done any of this without their help. I definately have the best family!

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For dessert nieces made chocolate dipped marshmallows and decorated sugar cookies, while I went nuts making cupcakes, chocolate pretzels, Rolo pretzels, Oreo balls, pumpkin cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats,  a regular cake and a smash cake for Jack, and Who Pudding. The kids even enjoyed a Hot Cocoa bar.

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To thank everyone for celebrating, I made Christmas ornaments of the Grinch and his heart.

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For the Grinch ornaments, I swirled green paint inside the ornaments and left them upside down to dry. After two days I had to recoat. I let them dry about a week before adding the Grinch face.

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I layered yellow vinyl over black vinyl cuts for the ornament. Using the Cricut Explore, I cut the Grinch face by uploading  as a simple image. (I uploaded it twice, once for the face and once for the eyes). grinch clipart

I’ve made glitter ornaments with Glitter-It in the past, but I finally decided to try the mop & Glo method I’ve seen on craft sites and Pinterest. It does work, and it’s super quick! Just swirl the M&G in the ornament, drain out the excess, add in glitter, shake it up to coat, and tap out the extra glitter. Glitter-It works great, but so does M&G, and the giant bottle is way cheaper.

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I feel like the heart ornaments went with my whole year’s theme. All year I’ve been writing about the joys of the heart as well as heartache. The year started with my heart growing with Jack’s birth, and since then I’ve written about the joys of being a mom, the heartache of leaving baby, The Mighty Quinn’s Heart surgery, my dad’s heart attack, and now again, the joys of being a Mom.

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I was driving home from the party, I was thinking how it was the first time I did something really “Mom,” and it was the first time I felt like Mom. Feeling like mom is subtly different than feeling like a mother or a mommy, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but giving my son a fun birthday made me feel like a Mom, and I loved it.

2 Months with Mr. Man: I’ve finally organized my Bump Pics!

Last week we celebrated Giacomo’s two month birthday, and on Valentine’s weekend he was 9 weeks old.  He’s so stinkin’ cute if I do say so myself.  His crying is getting better. Just look at one month compared to two months! He likes to be held upright so he can see what’s going on around him, so I think once he is able to sit up and hold his head up more he will be even better.

He's already grown so much!

He’s already grown so much!

I’ve only just met the little guy, but I feel like I’ve known him forever. It’s hard to think of life before him, even after only 9 weeks. Part of me can’t wait for him to play and talk and move around more, and the other part wants him to stay little and cuddly. Every coo and giggle he gives makes me so happy, and I’m trying to take in every one because I have to go back to work in 2 weeks. I should be happy about it because I got a promotion while I was out. I’ll be going back to adult conversation, creative work, and a reason to dress in something other than jeans and sweats.  I’m slowly becoming more optimistic, but that isn’t an easy task. I still haven’t been able to think about going back to work without shedding a tear or two, or a million. So I have to stop talking about it before my keyboard breaks from getting wet…

Mommy's favorite valentine! (Sorry Matt)

Mommy’s favorite valentine! (Sorry Matt)

I finally put together my baby bump pictures. I started taking the pictures around when I started telling people I was pregnant, and the later in my pregnancy the more consistent I was about taking the pictures. I really haven’t looked at them at all. I think I started to “pop” at 20 weeks. I got so huge so quickly; I gained 50 pounds while I was pregnant! I really wasn’t a binge eater or anything like that. They say you’re only supposed to gain like 20 pounds. If you can manage that, good for you! I was certainly not trying to gain so much but it happened anyway. I think I gained so much because I craved peanut butter and dairy like crazy, and that’s probably because my body was craving protein and I don’t like meat. Luckily for me I’m only 12 pounds away from my pre-baby weight after 9 weeks. I haven’t been able to exercise because of my c-section (although I don’t think I’d have had time to anyway). I think breastfeeding has helped a lot in combination with having to walk around and rock Giacomo to make him stop crying. Whoa! I just realized the benefit of a crying baby! 😉

Wow!

Wow!

Using my Cricut Explore for Giacomo’s First Craft Project

I’ve been dying to use my Christmas gift since Christmas, the new Cricut Explore. I had a Cricut Expressions and thought it was silly to buy a new machine, but I wanted the new model so badly! It has easy material settings, can cut, score, and write on all kinds of material, and the design space online is awesome. All cartridges are uploaded into one space, and you can use multiple cartridges at once while designing each project.  I was so excited when Matt got it for me for Christmas.

I haven’t had the time to play with it until our recently. Giacomo takes up lots of time, and I had to wait for a day Matt was off of work. I started a simple design for Giacomo’s first craft project!  I saw the idea on Pinterest, of course.

Hand Sign

The phrase reads: First we had each other (12/12/00), Then we had you (12/12/14), Now we have everything.

We did the hand prints first. Matt’s first, then mine, then Giacomo’s tiny hand! How cute! I had to wait for him to sleep to do it, but it was still a bit difficult ( I see now why there are so many baby feet crafts as opposed to hand crafts). I did two signs in case one got messed up. Both came out great, so one will go into his memory box and one into his scrapbook.

After the hand prints dried I loaded the pages for the Cricut. I wrote the phrase directly on the page because I didn’t want to cut the letters and have to glue them onto the page, plus I wanted to try out the silver pen the machine came with. Loading the pen is easy. The Explore has a separate pen loading spot because it can simultaneously write and cut.

Cricut Pen

I used the design space to figure out where I wanted the phrase. In hindsight, I should have done the writing first and put the handprints around the phrases, but this happened to work out.

When designing something in design space, if you want your design to print and cut exactly as it looks on screen, you have to select all your design boxes and attach them in the layers panel.  This is as opposed to cutting to conserve paper, like if you were going to glue letters onto a bigger project.

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Just hit print and go! I think it came out great.

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I put one copy on the lid of his memory box.

Memory Box

So far, his box has his birth announcement, the box of chocolate cigars, His first little toy my niece got him, his hospital bracelets, his first Christmas hat, and the first blanket, shirt, hat, socks, and gloves from the hospital.

Memory Box

So far the box fits right on his bookshelf. Hopefully I won’t need a bigger box by the end of the year!

Memory Box

Life with Jack

Oh wow; babies are exhausting! I know you’re supposed to know that, but I don’t think the fact can ever be truly appreciated until you actually have your own baby. See I have plenty of baby experience thanks to my nieces and nephew, but I was always able to return them at the end of the night. This new parent thing is totally different.

Jack's first bath

I never in a million years thought that I’d be unfazed by someone peeing, pooping, and/or puking on me, but I haven’t thought twice about cupping my hands to catch whatever might get squirted at me. Sure I’ve changed some gross diapers, but it was always gross. To really not care that my shoulder smells like spit-up, my hand has been pooped on, and my baby just peed across the room is an Angela who never occurred to me would exist even just two months ago.

Mr. Man

In my head, babies slept all the time. So I’d change and feed him, but I’d have time to clean my house or rest or maybe even read a magazine. Oh what a fool I was! Babies are more than a full time job. Especially colic babies. Many nights he’s up for hours crying. It’s a pretty helpless feeling when he’s crying and nothing at all makes him feel better. What works one night doesn’t necessarily work the next. I’ve even altered my own diet to see if that eases some discomfort for him. So far, it hasn’t. I think he has reflux too. My poor baby!

The weirdest thing about being a new mom isn’t the all-nighters or the sloppy clean-ups. It’s how much those things don’t bother me at all. I love it. I always loved kids, but babies were too much for me. The fussing, the helplessness, the fragility, it was all too intimidating. How would I even know what to do? But I love that I know how to soothe him, that I am responsible for taking care of him, that he is safe in my arms. It all came second nature.

People tell you “sleep while baby is sleeping.” Instead I often just watch him sleep.  I’m told I shouldn’t spoil him by holding him too much or rocking him too much or letting him fall asleep in my arms. But there’s part of my head that panics because I know that in a few years it’ll be a fight to get a hug from him. So I let him snuggle and I dance around with him in my arms.

 

This little man has also made a change in Matt. To see him dote over our baby has made me fall in love with him all over again. He can calm Jack when no one else can, not even me. Sometimes Jack will stop crying the second he is in Matt’s arms. I think every woman finds nothing more attractive than a man loving his child.

Matt and Jack

I’m trying to enjoy my baby now while I’m home. Even though I still have some time off, I get myself upset thinking of going back to work. I guess every mom goes through the feeling. It doesn’t make the feeling any easier. I’m hoping that by the time I have to go back I’ll at least be more comfortable with leaving him.

In the meantime, I’ll be trying to finish his nursery, start his scrapbook, and get as much snuggle time in as possible!

Giacomo’s First Photo Shoot with Moments by Marie

Giacomo's Christmas Card Giacomo's Announcement

Anyone that knows me knows I love taking pictures and scrapbooking. I may not be the best photographer, but I try. Giacomo already has been photographed like crazy. Matt and I were both 3rd children (so not as new and exciting as first born children) who were born waaaaay before taking photos was as easy as pulling out your cell phone. So neither of us have many newborn baby pictures. In fact, the few I have of myself my face is obscured by a giant pacifier. I wanted lots of pictures of my baby, so I’ve been snapping away.

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As much as I pretend I’m a great photographer, I enlisted a professional for Giacomo’s birth announcement. I hired my friend Marie to take Giacomo’s birth announcement photos. For two years, Marie has been photographing newborns, infants, children, and families, and she’s AMAZING at what she does! I always stalk out her Facebook page to OoOo and AhHhHh at her work. I especially love her newborn photography, so she was the first person who came to mind when we wanted to make Giacomo’s announcement.

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Marie generally takes newborn photos between 6 and 10 days after the baby is born, when babies are at their snuggliest.  The baby photo shoot was in our home, and Marie came armed with blankets, backdrops, swaddlers, hats, and props galore.  My baby was always comfortable and looked adorable.

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I could not be happier with Giacomos newborn pictures. Marie is such a talented photographer, and her work will give my family memories of such a fleeting time in our baby’s life. He has already changed so much since the photoshoot, but now we will always have these tangible, beautiful reminders of how tiny, sweet, and new he was.

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I can’t get over how great these pictures are, and I think the photos speak for themselves!

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Be sure to like Marie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarieShimonisPhotography if you’re interested in booking Marie, or if you just want to oogle at some adorable baby photos.

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A Wonderful 2014: Welcome to the World Giacomo!

Happy New Year! Time for resolutions and optimistic attitudes. I almost stuck to my wreath resolution from last year, and I’m proud that I made it as far as I did! I’ll cut myself some slack for not finishing the last few months wreaths. The last leg of pregnancy gave me swollen hands and terrible carpal tunnel anyway.  All together I had a wonderful year. I saw my favorite singer, went to Disneyland, pulled an awesome prank on my mom, Matt earned his PhD and I pulled off a surprise party to celebrate it, met my favorite band, shared Lilu’s big announcement, and was super surprised at my baby shower. To end the year, this was the greatest December ever. Matt and I started dating on December 12, 2000, and exactly 14 years later, December 12, 2014, we brought our son Giacomo Michael Niepielko into the world.

Sleeping Mister Man Mommy's Little Guy

On December 10th I was admitted into the hospital to induce labor. I was past my due date, and my doctor does not allow patients to go too far past their dates to avoid complications like macrosomia and mecronium ingestion .  After 2 days (and lots of TV and Clue for entertainment) I still was not dilated at all, and we decided on a C-section.

Clue!

I won’t lie, I was terrified. I’ve had surgery before, but the idea of being cut open is never easy to deal with, but having a doctor I trust and a husband who is so supportive calmed me. That is until the hospital fire alarm went off minutes before I went into surgery. Just my luck.

First Family Photo My 2 loves

Eventually I got into the operating room. The whole experience was surreal and super fast. It started with the spinal, which was super uncomfortable but only lasted a second. Them my legs got warm and tingly, and eventually I couldn’t feel them at all. I laid down, a curtain was put up, and Matt was allowed in to be with me. The rest happened so fast. I remember the doctors talking to each other casually, which actually made me really at ease. If they could talk so freely, then everything was looking normal on the other side of the curtain.

My Little Jack

Then all of a sudden the anesthesiologist told Matt to look over the curtain and tell me who was kicking me this whole time. “It’s a male,” Matt finally said, and the room starting laughing at his scientific terminology. The nurse brought him around for me to see, “Oh look at my Mister Man!” I blurted out, and I’ve been calling him that ever since.

Ready to go home!

It’s so amazing. I was worried that I wouldn’t feel like a mom, or that instant connection people talk about. I was sure I wouldn’t feel it. I’m really not sentimental and often during my pregnancy I actually would forget that I was pregnant. But I did feel it. It’s overwhelming how instantly altered I became. Love at first sight is absolutely a real thing!

Lilu meets Giacomo

Toadstool Planter and Lilu’s Big Announcement

Toadstools are adorable. Last summer I made these ceramic toadstool houses and a toadstool bird feeder. 

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To bring the toadstools outside, I made toadstool flower pots. They are really easy and cheap to make. I used inexpensive plastic planters and painted them red.

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Then I used white caulk to make the spots on the planter.

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The caulk dried overnight and the planter was ready to go. I planted red Gerbera Daisies surrounded by little white flowers.

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Easy and sweet looking!

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In other news, Lilu made a big announcement this week. She’s going to be a guard dog/big sister!

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We’re expecting the little one on December 5th. We’ll find out if it’s a he or a she then. In the meantime, Lilu’s very excited about the position

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Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all