Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DIY Baby Sensory Squares

Happy 2015! So hard to believe we're already a month and a half in. Brendan is growing like a weed! I remember when everyone told me to enjoy the moments when he was really tiny, before he was mobile, and now I know what they meant. Long gone are the days when I could stick him in his swing and let him hang out and possibly even fall asleep. Nope. Now he's at that age where he's into everything and he's so curious. He's obsessed with the dog and likes to get his hands on anything he sees. And of course, everything goes in the mouth now that he's teething (two little teeth so far!).

He's really into different textures and feeling different things with his hands, so I got the idea to make some sensory items for him to play with. I finally busted out my sewing machine for the first time since he's been born. I found some fabric and a few items in my craft drawer to stuff into them, along with two different types of ribbon. These were super easy and took very little time to do. Plus, they're small enough so that I can take them out with me and give them to him in the shopping cart or stroller. The fabric I had already had square shapes on it, so I cheated a little, but you can make them any size you want. Mine are about 5"x5". I had this cute Richard Scarry fabric, which I'm crazy about since I LOVED his books as a child!

Here's what you need:
- Small items with different textures. I used corks, makeup sponges, cellophane, and cotton pom poms.
- Grosgrain and satin ribbon
- Fabric, cut into squares (I suggest anywhere from 5" to 7" inches all around)
- Sandwich size ziploc bags

Cut out fabric and cut about 8" piece of each ribbon.

Take 2 fabric squares, and place them together, right sides facing each other.

To place the ribbon to make a "loop," fold each piece of ribbon in half and place it upside down, sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric, as seen below. Pin into place. For each square, I used one of each ribbon and put them on random sides.

Place items into ziploc bags (this makes it easier to clean the squares without ruining the items inside). The only one I ended up not doing that to last minute were the pom poms.

Sew around each square, leaving about a 2" opening on the bottom. Turn inside out (which will make it right side up).

Go back and sew the seam shut, and that's it!

Baby approved!

I guess they're tasty too :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wrapping Up 2014

2014 has been my busiest and most life-changing year ever. Becoming a mom for the first time has been exciting, happy, scary, stressful, and wonderful all at the same time. Fortunately, Brendan is a great baby. He's healthy, happy, sleeps well and eats well. He's growing like a weed, and already starting to fit into 9 month clothes! He definitely inherited his daddy's genes.

I've had to put a few things on hold as I adapt to motherhood and get Brendan on a decent schedule. One of those things has been working on this blog. I love coming on here and sharing pictures, stories, projects, and recipes. I'm still thrilled at the amount of hits it gets, mostly from past projects that get repinned on Pinterest. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to make an effort to get back on here - even if it's once a week. It's a good outlet for me and I need to keep it up!

That being said, here are some pics from the last few months, and we get ready to wrap up 2014. I love the monthly pics I've been doing of Brendan since I'm able to record his stats and remember things that he was really into at each age. Plus, it's fun to see how much he changes month to month!

This was Brendan's Halloween costume - a 1930s circus strong man. How cute is that?! The mustache was part o a 6 pack of stick on fuzzy staches I found at Target in the Halloween aisle. The onesie was one he already had with an anchor on the front that I cut the sleeves off of and turned inside out. For the dumbbell, I bought a wooden rod at the craft store and had Mike saw it down to size. I glued on two styrofoam balls and painted the whole thing black. I cut out the "100" numbers and glued them on. As for the belt, I printed out that letter "G" and then traced it on to glittery foam paper. I glued that on to a thick piece of black ribbon, added a piece of velcro to fasten the belt together, and that's it! 

Shameless plug...his pic also made it on to the Today Show's website last month to promote "Movember." It was awesome :)

These are Brendan's Christmas pictures and I am simply SMITTEN with them! I did these in my living room, and I wish I had taken a pic of what the setup looked like. I took a white tri-fold board (like the kind we used to use for science fair porjects. Though I guess they still use them for that since they still sell them...), and draped white Christmas lights over it. I took the shaggy area rug from Brendan's room and draped a nice white blanket over it, so it would be nice and cushiony for him. I set him up a few feet in front of the board, instead of directly in front, so I could get that nice blurred light background. I put a few more lights in front of him and scattered some candy canes around for fun. I love the way these came out, and love that Penny was included too :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year! Here's to 2015 bringing nothing but happiness, health, and good things to you all. xoxo

Friday, September 5, 2014

Getting the Hang of Things

It's been a little over 2 months now since Brendan's been born, and I'm finally starting to adapt to normal life again (sorta). It's amazing how packed your day gets and how a simple trip to Target requires more than just grabbing your keys and heading out the door. I knew it wouldn't be easy and things would be VERY different. Being a stay at home mom is tough...very tough. I know a lot of people who don't have kids think that it's a piece of cake, but it's not. Being at the beckon call of someone who can't fend for himself, while trying to take care of yourself and maintain a house is more demanding than any job I've ever had...seriously. Fortunately, Mike's been doing extremely well with work however, he has to travel a lot since he's got construction going on in Alabama and Georgia, leaving me to not only be a stay at home mom, but be a single stay at home mom as well. Fortunately, Brendan is a good baby and a good sleeper. He's not on a schedule just yet (we're working on it), but he tends to go down between 9-10:00 and get up anywhere from 4:30 to 6:00 (once he slept until 7:30. It was the greatest gift that little man could have given us!).

This kid is also getting BIG! At his 2 month checkup, he was a little over 25" long and weighed 12 lbs, 13 oz. He's in the 81st percentile for weight, and 96th for height. I packed away his newborn clothes recently and wanted to cry my eyes out. He's already in 3 month clothes now! At the rate this kid's going, he'll be wearing 9 month size by Christmas...He's also very "chatty" lately, cooing and making noises all the time. He'll talk to anyone or anything that'll listen to him. Me, Mike, Penny, the ceiling fan. You name it, he'll strike up a conversation with it. He also smiles a lot now, which is the sweetest thing I've ever seen. That chubby, gummy smile just makes me happy no matter what!

Here are a few pictures of him so far. We've been taking our monthly pics, not to mention my iPad is loading with nothing but pics of this kid. We spend so much time taking pictures of him, that we realized we had no pics of us with him since the hospital! My parents were here last weekend so we had my dad take a couple pics of us as a family so this poor kid won't look back on baby pictures of himself and think he was raised by ghosts, since we're nowhere to be seen. Looking at these pictures, it's so fun to see how much he's grown and changed in just 2 months.

This is what we've been posting on Facebook and sending to family. Thought it would be fun to keep up with his stats each month. Aren't those tie stickers so cute?! My mom's friend Rita gave them to us. I love them - he's such a little man!

He and Penny and pals. Their expressions that I caught in the one month pic are great!

The hat and booties were a little set I ordered on Etsy, given Mike's line of work. I couldn't resist! Future general contractor. This was at one month old.

Such a happy kid! I mean, look at that face... :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Introducing Brendan Richard Gorecki!


He's FINALLY here! Our little man was born on June 23rd at 3:19 p.m., weighing 7 lbs, 14 oz, and measuring 21.75" long (the same length as his daddy...I wonder if he'll be 6'3 too??). Brendan is healthy and happy, and we still can't believe he's ours. We named him after St. Brendan, whose church Mike and I were married in here in Clearwater. St. Brendan is also an Irish saint, which is appropriate since Ireland was our big pre-baby trip. He is also the patron saint of diving, sailing, and travelling, which - for those of you who know us - is quite appropriate since Mike loves the water and we both love to travel. Richard is my dad's first name, and Mike's dad's middle name, so we love how it pays homage to both of his grandpas.

As for his birth day...if you had asked me 2 months ago how I envisioned Brendan's birth, it would have been totally opposite of what really happened (well, except the epidural. God bless that epidural!). My due date was June 19, and from the start, I was totally convinced that he was going to come early. At every ultrasound, he measured ahead of schedule, and I just had that gut feeling. He also always showed to be in the perfect position for a natural birth and everything looked perfect.

Boy, was I off.

In early June, my doctor's office scheduled an induction date of June 23rd, just in case he did not arrive by the 19th. I didn't think much of it since I assumed he'd be here early (the 11th specifically stood out in my mind for some reason). On Sunday June 8th, I started feeling extreme back pain with some cramping. Finally, around 11:00 that night, I called my doctor's office and the doctor on call told me to go in to the hospital. Being the planner I am, our bags had been packed and ready to go for weeks, so Mike loaded up the car just in case, and off we went. We spent 3 hours in the hospital as I was hooked up to a monitor to watch my contractions and the baby's heart rate. Since I wasn't dilated far enough, they sent us home. However, I was convinced that it was going to happen for real any day at that point. For the next 2 weeks, I did everything possible to help get this kid out. I took Penny on 2 mile walks every morning, ate the spiciest food I could find, sat on a yoga name it, I did it. June 19th rolled around and nothing had happened. Any contractions I'd had were irregular, and my water hadn't broken. On Friday, June 20th, I went to see my doctor so that they could do a pre-delivery checkup on me and everything looked perfect. My doctor was even convinced that I would deliver on my own over the weekend, and not make it to Monday since Brendan was ready to come out.

Wrong again.

I know this sounds crazy, but I was really looking forward to that moment where the contractions were strong enough or my water broke, so that I could run and tell Mike "it's time!" They had scheduled us to arrive at the hospital at 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning. Naturally, I barely slept on Sunday night. I was excited to meet Brendan, but a little nervous that they were going to induce. They had us check in and once I was all settled in the delivery room, my doctor came in around 5:30 a.m. and broke my water and said I was 3 cm. dilated. Then they started to issue the petocin and that's when the sh*t hit the fan...those contractions were WAY different than the ones I'd been getting on my own. I admire all the women who don't get an epidural because that's not easy. Definitely one of the worst pains OF MY LIFE! A little while later, they gave me the epidural and it was like euphoria. My doctor came in and said they had actually turned off the petocin since I had started contracting on my own, and had just needed a little kick start. Around 12:00, she came back in and said I was fully dilated and ready to go soon! Around 1:30, I began to push. For some reason, Brendan's heart rate kept dropping every time I pushed, and he didn't wanna come out. Just before 3:00, the doctor came back in and said that she wasn't comfortable with me pushing any more because of his heart rate, and wanted to deliver via C-section. I was crushed since I was so close and I knew it meant a lot for Mike to cut the umbillical cord. However, I wanted what was best for the baby, and I knew that a C-section was my safest bet for him. That happened so fast. They wheeled me into the O.R., issued the additional epidural and medications, and by 3:19, he was out. It turns out, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his mid-section, which was preventing him from coming out, hence the heart rate dropping. They didn't know that until they did the C-section, so looking back, I'm glad they did what they did for the safety and health of Brendan.

I was scared and nervous. I was a little loopy from being on additional meds, but I will never, ever forget that first time I heard him cry. It was the best sound I've ever heard in my life. Mike peeked over the curtain and told me how cute he was and a few minutes later, they brought him over and showed him to me. It was so surreal. I couldn't believe our little man was finally here. After they cleaned him up and weighed him, they brought him over to me and I remember saying "I love you so much" to him. It's amazing how you can say that and mean it to someone you just met.

The recovery was tough. I was sick to my stomach and out of it for most of the day, and the days after that in the hospital were rough from the surgery. We were blessed to have such wonderful doctors and nurses there to take care of us, and what's most important is that Brendan was in perfect health. I'm feeling much better now and my doctor did a great job with the c-section. Yes, it was tough, but I would do it all over again since it brought me the greatest gift in the world. I've driven by the hospital a few times since his birth, and get nostalgic every time. In a strange way, I wish I was back there to do it all over again, aches, pains and all. Today, Brendan is one month old and I can't believe it! Time flies very fast, and I'm cherishing every minute with him. Mike has been a wonderful daddy and Penny has been great too - she always wants to be wherever we are and runs to his side when he cries.

Welcome to the world, Brendan Richard! You were so worth the wait :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quack, Quack!

Yep...still pregnant. I'm not due for another 2 days so I can't really complain too much, but I'm just way too anxious to meet our little man!

So, to keep myself busy without straying too far from home (I have this fear of my water breaking while I'm in the makeup aisle at Target or something), I've been doing stuff around the house and tending to my ducks. Yes, my ducks. We live on a pond, and not long after we moved in, a mama and 4 babies started frequenting my yard, so of course, I had to feed them every time I saw them. Well, 4 became 3, and then 3 became none...right around the time we saw an alligator in the pond. Not cool. Fortunately, a gator is a very uncommon site in this particular pond, and after spotting him on my lawn of all places, I contacted our HOA and after other complaints, they had a trapper come out and remove him (oh what an exciting Friday night that was!). Since then, a new mama came around with 2 more ducks. Now there's only 1, but since there are no more gators around, I like to think that he rebelled and went off on his own, or maybe he went to live with his dad. We'll leave it at that. The other duck is growing big now and, at the expense of getting laughed at by Mike, I buy duck food at PetsMart and leave it in a bowl in the yard. It makes me so happy to see them get out of the pond and come racing up to the bowl all the time now. Another duck friend of theirs has also decided to join them for their meals, but that's fine by me. If the bowl is empty and they start to walk away, they come running back the minute they hear me open the patio door. They're so pretty - we have Mallards and American Black Ducks. A pesky squirrel has also decided to help himself to the food, but I just open the sliding door and send Penny running out there, and that takes care of that. 

Here are some pics of the most recent babies that I took about 2 weeks ago. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Baby G's Construction Themed Nursery

I'm due 2 weeks from today!! Time has flown by like crazy. Being the planner that I am, I wanted to make sure that everything was done and ready to go so that we won't have anything left to do once this little guy arrives. Hospital bag is packed, all the baby laundry is done, car seat installed, and nursery is set up. With Mike being a general contractor, we decided to go with a "construction" theme so the baby can be just like daddy :) We didn't want to overdo it or make it too cartoon-like. I wanted the room to reflect a little boy, not really a baby boy, so that he can grow into it. My mom (who is obsessed with Pottery Barn), suggested the Madras Nursery Bedding, so that we can switch out the decor down the road if we decide to. It's still loaded with bright colors, so it goes with anything. Though the pictures don't show it too well, the walls are a very subtle light blue called "Icicle."

That glider was given to us from our friends Sara & Derek. She used it for her 2 kids and they were sweet enough to pass it down to Baby G now that she's done using it. It's really comfy and goes beautifully with the room!

The diaper decoration was from my baby shower.

How cute is this?? I had been looking for something to fill that lamp, and my sister and I came across a construction Lego set at Target.

Found a 3-piece set of these Melissa & Doug wooden vintage toys at HomeGoods for $7!

Found these prints on Etsy and thought they were too cute to pass up.

We actually got this print at an art fest in Atlanta. I love the vintage look of it!

I painted this canvas for him. The lyrics are part of the Dave Matthews song, "Grey Street."

I'm SO excited for Mike to read this book to the baby. It's adorable :)

The bottom shelf has my baby book, Mike's baby book, and Baby G's baby book.

I call this his "nostalgia" shelf. All old-school toys. The Jack in the Box and Barrel of Monkeys were gag gifts from our wedding that I hung on to, the Beanie Baby belonged to his grandma Sharon's (Mike's stepmom) mother, the "Happy Apple" was mine as a baby, and the teddy bear was also mine that my dad gave me as a baby. The wooden truck is part of the vintage Melissa & Doug set. 

My friend Kristin put my gift in this adorable canvas tote for my shower. Perfect for blanket storage next to the glider!

I think this is my favorite thing in his room. I saw the idea on Pinterest and Mike insisted on making it for the room. He put together and painted that peg board and I absolutely LOVE it!! The tools are actually plastic kids toys from Target, and I love the diapers in the basket.

Another Etsy purchase. I couldn't resist!! 

Not that polar bears have anything to do with construction, but this is another hand me down. My aunt made this for me and it was in my room as a baby. My mom saved it all these years, so now Baby G gets it. 

So there you have it! Now all we need is a baby to put in there :) Any day now...