Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer Pregnancy Survival Tips

Now that my third summer pregnancy is well underway, I thought it might be good to share a few survival tips I've learned along the way.  Summer pregnancies are not for the faint of heart.  My first two were born in August and September so when Q-ball was born in April I thought it was pretty much heaven on earth.  Had I not had a miscarriage in October, there would have been a very new baby around these parts and I would have missed out on a third summer of having a built-in heater in my tummy.  But it is what it is and so I will happily use my hard-earned knowledge to make it through as pleasantly as possible.  Below are several things that help or have helped me cope.

Loose clothing
Everything I read about clothes during my first pregnancy advocated wearing fitted t shirts to accentuate the belly and avoid the tent look.  Maybe in winter, but in the summer...not so much.  I much prefer a flowy top that gives me good circulation to a tighter shirt than gives me sweaty under-boobs.

Comfy bra
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I realize this could easily go under the previous heading, but it is important enough to me to merit it's own section.  Early on in this pregnancy I started feeling suffocated by the band on my bra.  I first attempted to just buy an extender.,  Victoria's Secret, however, doesn't sell extenders in white (seriously, no white?!?) so I simply went to Motherhood to buy a couple that would take me all the way through nursing.  After trying on several I decided on the bra pictured above because the band is so stretchy.  The conversation with the girl at the counter went like this:

Counter girl:  So you're going with the lounge bra?
Me:  Lounge bra?  Oh.  Well, no wonder it's so comfortable!
CG: Yeah, it's light support so it's not, like, a real bra...

She trailed off when she saw the shut-up-and-take-my-money look on my face.  Being able to breathe in my bra makes life much happier.

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You would be amazed at how quickly a single popsicle will lower your body temperature.  If you're really into it you can make your own all-natural, organic frozen fruit juice pops with cups and sticks.  Me?  I do Otter Pops.  Lots and lots of Otter Pops.  Sometimes I even share with the kids.  Another thing I really enjoy is a flavored slush from Sonic.  Soooo good!

Pool pass
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If you can reasonably get to a pool every day, do it.  When I was pregnant with Blue Eyes I was able to go to the pool at my grandparents' condo for an hour or two every week day.  The buoyancy the water gave my poor, bloated body was heaven on earth.  During my pregnancy with Pink Blur I was given a pass to the city pool, which I used almost daily.  With baby #4 I have three kids under 6 years old to watch out for and that's just too many for me to do by myself.  My solution this summer is more to eat more popsicles and hide out in the air conditioning when the older two kids aren't at swim lessons.  I'll also be getting a haircut pretty soon.

Loose shoes
Here is yet another heading I could have put with clothing, but which deserves mention by itself.  Swelling of the feet and ankles is fairly common, particularly in a summer pregnancy.  Flip fops are your friend.  I like some that have a little heel to them because they are more comfortable than the flat ones.  For a lot of people, flip flops end up being the only shoe they can put on their swollen tootsies.  The picture above was taken when I was eight months pregnant with Blue Eyes and the air conditioning went out at my work.  It was so bad I had to go home because I was overheating.  My swelling lasted for a minimum of six weeks and was bad enough that I could poke my feet, ankles, and sometimes even my calves and it would leave a dimple where I pressed.

Fake ring
This is my real ring.
Okay, so this isn't a necessity, but it certainly makes me feel better.  Along with swollen feet and ankles, my fingers also grow in size when I'm gestating a little one.  I like to just buy a cheap stand in ring to wear on my left hand when my real wedding ring doesn't fit anymore.  Most people don't care whether or not you have a ring but there was a stranger who saw me in the store without my ring and asked if I was considering adoption.  Sigh.  Rude people or not, I like a little sparkle on my hand.  I usually get a $10 ring from Walmart and it passes as real just long enough to get me through until my wedding ring fits again.

Bath and shower powder
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Let's get real.  When pregnant (and sometimes when not pregnant) "summer fresh" is more like "summer moist, chafe-y, and kinda stinky" unless you take the appropriate measures.  A few shakes of baby powder or bath and shower powder in your underwear is the answer.  Use it every time you go to the bathroom.  EVERY time.  I realize that during the first and third trimesters that means you're sprinkling more in every five minutes, but it's still totally worth it.  I like to keep an industrial size shaker bottle in my bathroom and a travel size in the diaper bag.  It does more to keep me comfortable and confident than anything else.

So there you have it, my summer pregnancy survival tips.  Is there anything you've found to make a pregnant summer more comfortable?  This baby is due about a week after the weather turns cooler where I live, so I'll take any hints I can get!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition

Excuse me for a moment while I express my excitement formynext sewing adventure. [Cue the sound of distant squeals of happiness and things falling over as I do a dance]  At the end of July I get to be a contestant for Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition, hosted by the lovely ladies of Skirt Fixation.  Whoop! I've always wanted to be a contestant in a sewing contest, so this is super exciting for me.
This contest features five weeks of creative goodness, each week with a different theme and four different contestants.  Sound easy? Well...there's a catch!  The contestants will be swapping fabric with each other so, beyond the theme of our week, we don't know ahead of time what we will be using to make our projects.  I am competing in the final week: Mystery Fabric.  I figured if I was going for a surprise I'd go for a total surprise.  Plus the added element of the unknown increases the excitement for me.  My husband, ever the lovable skeptic, asked why contestants wouldn't just send horrible fabric to each other in the hopes of making it impossible for their recipient to make anything nice.  I was happy to tell him that not only would the winning project's creator be rewarded, but also the contestant who sent the fabric.  Well thought out, ladies!

Mini spoiler: I sent my swap fabric this week and received my project fabric a couple days later.  I loved the fabric I mailed off, but it would have stayed in my stash forever.  I purchased it just before getting into Dressing Your Truth and, beautiful as the fabric is, the color isn't my best.  I'm excited for the projects to post so you can see what I sent.  I miss looking at it.  As for what I received, it's very different than what I sent.  It's fun and fresh and I'm looking forward to creating something great.  Keep an eye out as the contest starts in July and I'll keep you posted on the progress. I'm going to go be giddy about my new fabric now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tenth Anniversary Top

The Hubs and I celebrated our tenth anniversary last week.  It was fabulous.  We counted April's trip to Disneyland with the kids as our big anniversary activity.  We went there for our honeymoon so it felt like full circle to go there as a whole family ten years later.  On our actual anniversary all I really wanted to do was have a fancy dinner.  To me, that means yummy food and more than just an entree.  I was prepared to pay for a starter, entree, and dessert and call that good, rather than pony up for the cost of several courses.  The restaurant we went to had a tasting menu (woohoo!) so we went with that and ended up getting five course and paying less for that than we would have for the three I was going to settle for.  It was perfect.  And delectible.  The picture below shows the third course, fish and cipolline with two heavenly sauces.  We also had a chilled soup (amazing!), arugula salad, parmesan crusted chicken, and a dessert of creme brulee with mixed berries.  If you ever go to a restaurant with a tasting menu option, I highly recommend it.
I decided I need something to wear to dinner.  Rather than wear my Electric Flamingo dress, I opted to go with my new black maxi dress ($12 from Old Navy, hooray!) with a crossover half shirt.  That decision was made by the fact that I already had the pattern and had planned to make several tops in different colors to accessorize the dress.

The requirement for the fabric was that I had to have it and matching thread in my stash so I wouldn't need to go to the store.  I found the leftovers of some neon pink swimsuit knit and just barely eked out enough for the top.  The pattern is Simplicity 1468, view A (shown above).  I shortened the top by about 3.5 inches because I wanted it to end at my natural waist and I am freakishly short-waisted.  After shortening it I added a 1.5 inch band to the bottom for a more finished look.  The sleeve length is view C.  I had to narrow the shoulders (nothing new there) for proper fit.  Finally, I raised the neckline to see if I could make it modest enough to want to wear without a shirt underneath, in case I decide to make a full length top out of it.  I think that covers all the pattern changes.

The top would have been a quick and easy sew had it not been for the fabric I used.  The double needle seemed to get a thrill from skipping stitches.  If I sew this pattern again I think I'll gather the front ends before inserting them into the side seams.  That way the crossover lays on my bust would be more flattering if it went under instead of over.  I doubt I'll make the full length shirt, so the height on the neckline won't present a problem.

Conclusion: the pattern is really easy to sew and I would recommend it  I have not yet taken any further pictures of me wearing the top, so you'll have to wait for better views of the finished product.