Baby Girl Has Arrived

Baby Morgan joined us on March 15th at 6:34AM, weighing 7 lbs 11oz. I was 38w3d.

My contractions were occurring consistently every 20-30 min the evening of March 14th. By 3AM, they were about 3-4min apart, which is when we headed to the hospital. I was admitted at 4AM (6 cm dilated) and 2.5 hours later, baby girl was here! It happened very quickly but I was exhausted — mostly due to the lack of sleep. However, the moment I held her, nothing else mattered. The pain and exhaustion was so worth it. She’s absolutely precious.

Easy Crochet Projects for Baby

I picked up my first crochet hook about a month and a half ago. The first project  I completed was a braided cowl scarf. I wouldn’t recommend it as a starter project, as it totally turned me off from crocheting.

Fortunately, I gave it another shot because my colleague gave me a pattern for a baby carseat blanket. That was much easier. Next, I made a hat and diaper cover–both very easy patterns that I found online for free: My Handsome Prince Newborn Baby Hat and Simple Diaper Cover. I added ribbon to the diaper cover just to make it a bit more feminine.

I made all three baby items with just one ball of yarn (~400-500 yrds) and a 5mm hook.

38 Week Update

It’s almost time!

  • Total weight gain: 32lbs
  • Sleep: Good. Getting about 7 hrs a night and just getting up once.
  • Highlight: Surprise baby ‘sprinkle’ brunch
  • Movements: Very strong and painful
  • Food cravings: Anything sweet
  • Symptoms: Heartburn, difficulty walking (lots of pelvic pressure and hip discomfort). I couldn’t make it to my last bookcamp class at 37 weeks — it would’ve been quite the struggle to move around (much more difficult than it was in my first pregnancy)
  • Mood: Excited to meet my little girl. Anxious about not knowing when and where it’ll all start happening. Nervous about dealing with a newborn and a toddler.

DIY Maternity Photos

I didn’t take any maternity photos for my first pregnancy, so I wanted to make sure I got them done this time around. I started gathering quotes and the recommended photographers averaged about $400 for the package, which included about 5-10 edited digital images and 1 hour of photography. That price was just not in my budget so I figured I’d just try it myself and do it on the cheap. Here’s what I used for my own maternity photo shoot…

Camera and lens:
I’m an amateur photographer who owns a secondhand Canon Rebel T2i camera. I learned that for occasional, amateur photographers, the camera body is all you really need. There are places like Henry’s or Vistek that rent out lenses, so you can pick one up for $30/weekend. And they have all kinds of lenses, so you can select one based on the kind of photos you want to take. I used the Sigma 35mm ART 1.4 lens, which retails for about $900US. I really could have got away with just using my kit lens, but I wanted to use this as a learning opportunity as well.

Other equipment, if you’re your own photographer:

  • Tripod - Make sure you have a tripod that’ll position the camera the way you want it
  • Remote - A remote would definitely make things easier. My remote decided to stop working, so I relied on the timer.
  • Prop or stand-in - I used my son’s large Olaf doll as a prop to set focus. I would put the doll in my spot and set my AF (auto focus) point and then switch my lens to MF (manual focus) so the lens wouldn’t refocus when I switched out Olaf for myself.

I was going to shoot on one of the coldest days of the year (-25 degrees celcius), so shooting outdoors was not an option. I didn’t have any large bare walls that I could use either. So I just bought a $3 white painting sheet to create a plain backdrop and I also used our large patio window as a background. Other backdrop options:

  • Rent from camera store – $25-50/day
  • Buy from camera store – $75 and up
  • Buy fabric from fabric store – $5-20/meter (60″ wide)

Photo editing software:
I shot all my photos as RAW files and used Adobe Photoshop. I don’t quite understand RAW files but if you have the time to play around with editing, make sure your camera is set up to save this way. This will give you the most editing flexibility/creative options.

Hair and makeup:
I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so I had to make a few adjustments to my daily look for it to be “camera ready.” I added a little more eyeliner, darker eyeshadow, blush and lipstick, and I was good to go.

I used a few outfits that I already owned. The good thing about photos is that you can “fake” the fit of clothing. The item of clothing doesn’t necessarily need to fit right. You can pin things up or leave things open and just hide these alterations from the camera. I also quickly made a dress from a jersey knit and stretch lace. The fabric cost me $10 and I spent about an hour putting it together. It looks pretty plain in person, but I think the lace turned out great on camera.

$43 later ($30 lens, $10 dress, $3 backdrop), here are some of the final photos:

Soccer for Toddlers

I signed my 22-month old son up for soccer sessions with Lil Strikers. The class we joined is for 18 months to 2 years, but they do have classes for kids up to the age of 9.

For his age, my main goal was for him to get some exercise and release some energy so we can go home and enjoy a good, long nap. I don’t expect him to learn any soccer skills but it’s likely he’ll learn a thing or two, even if it’s just learning that the ball goes into the net.

My soccer knowledge is very limited, but from the looks of it, the classes are structured in such a way that their activities do translate to skills that can be applied to a game of soccer.

It’s actually really cute to watch. For the first half of the 10-week session, here’s what they do during the 50 minutes:

  • Stretching
  • Stepping on the ball – The tots are asked to step on the ball, one foot at a time (with the help of the parent for balance). I assume this is for trapping.
  • Jumping over the ball – None of the tots can do this on their own, so they’re all swung over the ball by their parents. Jarvis loves it.
  • Running – “Red Light/Green Light” “and Freeze” games
  • Throwing and kicking the ball – Throwing would be used for throw-ins, I’m guessing; and the kicking is obvious. Jarvis much prefers kicking over throwing. And I may be a bit biased, but I think he’s a pretty coordinated kicker :)
  • Tower building – Yes, the tots build towers with mini pylons. How is this useful? They’re supposed to kick it down when they have it built. It’s a kicking exercise. This one is entertaining to watch because you can watch their creativity.
  • Obstacle course – There’s a tunnel, hoops and a net. Most of the time, the kids just go back and forth in the tunnel, but the idea is to get through all the obstacles and kick the ball into the net. Fun times.

Once all that’s done, they’re all given stickers. I love this because the sticker distracts my little guy almost long enough to get to the car without any struggle.

He’s had 3 classes so far and I can’t wait to see how he progresses. He’s at an age where he’s constantly observing and learning, so it’ll be interesting to see what he picks up next.