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Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Seven of the First Seven Days

If you are like me, the last few days of a year provide you with lists and lists to devour. A chance to see what I've missed and measure my own taste against that of an "expert," give me a coffee and an end of the year "top ___ ___s of 2011" and I'm happy. (A few examples: Best American Poetry, Best Novels, Best Music Albums, and Best(?) Retracted Scientific Studies - NPR doesn't have a monopoly on the market, but they do a good job).

It being the end of the year and about 1 week since our Quincy was born, I thought I'd share my own list. If you make it to the end, there will be a video for you that I think you will find rewarding.

Top 7 Items for the First 7 Days with a Newborn - 2011

7) Music
Quincy loves all music, but we've found it fun to have baby-appropriate music for him. Our favorites so far have been:

Rockabye Lullaby series of music ("Timeless rock songs transformed into beautiful instrumental lullabies. Guitars and drums are traded for soothing mellotrons, vibrophones and bells, and the volume is turned down from an eleven to two.")

They Might Be Giants. One of my favorite bands found time to make a few kids CDs, including "Here Come the 123s."

6) Bouncy Seat
Quincy loves this thing. Need to take a shower? Take the bouncy seat into the bathroom with Quincy strapped in. Need to calm down a fussy baby? Put the "Calming Vibrations" on with the bouncy seat.

5) Little Green Machine
What is impressive, really, is how wide of a variety of messes you can clean up in 7 days. This thing has handled them all.

4) Webcams (Skype, iChat, etc)
Quincy doesn't let physical distance get between him and his loved ones.

3) TV on DVD
A great tip we got from our friend was to have some TV on DVD on hand during the first weeks home. The docket for us includes Friday Night Lights, Community, and Covert Affairs, but we are currently working our way through season 1 of White Collar (highly recommend it).

2) Books
We love to read to our son and are excited for when he'll start to have his favorite stories. Since he isn't talking quite yet, we're assuming his current favorite is "Goodnight iPad," a brilliant gift from a friend.
1) Video Camera
Qualities I'd suggest in a camera for a newborn include quick start and ease of use. You aren't going to use something that takes 2 minutes to boot up and get to the right setting. This led us to the now-discontinued (but not for lack of quality) Flip Mino UltraHD. Unfortunately, it is hard to find these available for sale (we found ours clearanced at Best Buy), so alternatives include the Sony Bloggie and Kodak Playsport.

Since we never got around to posting an official "Life, Hyphenated" announcement of Quincy's birth from the hospital (we were slightly distracted by other things), we thought we'd share this video introduction of him, recorded just minutes after his birth. If you don't tear up, you don't have a soul...

We've loved our first week with Quincy and look forward to each day to come!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The White T-Shirt Experiment: The Due Date Edition

Well Folks, we've reached that point where I'm busting at the seems and Baby H-G should be here any day.  Officially, yesterday marked the Due Date, though it's up to him for when he actually makes his way out.

Here at the H-G Research Center, we have been gathering information on an interesting study called the White T-Shirt Experiment.  (To get caught up, check out the Introduction, Half-Way Report, 2/3's Report, and the 87.9% Progress Report).

Instead of posting the results of the past five weeks, we instead will be revealing our full findings up to the Due Date.  As you can see, a lot has  changed over the last 40 weeks!

And here is what we like to call the Behind the Seams look at the project.  (Punny, yes?  Fitting? Also yes.)

Those of you that guessed early or on time, I'm afraid you won't win the prize!  Bets are now being taken of how late he'll be.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Four Food Groups of Pregnancy





May your bellies be filled with joy,


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some Call It Nesting, I Call It Pregnancy Induced Crafting

I had a previous post about what us Cool Kids have been up to, but it seems my coolness may be enhanced in pregnancy.  There is a common occurrence among the Preggers called Nesting, which refers to avid cleaning, organizing and making various preparations for the baby to come.  Since our house seems to be in general chaos due to some water damage we had about a month ago, the Cleaning and Organizing Nesting Syndrome has not colonized in my system as of yet.  However, it has inspired some cool projects to keep my hands busy.

Who needs nests when you've got birds in trees?  Thanks to my friend Megan, and an idea that originally came from Pinterest (see it here), we have some cool art for the bathroom.

Bird Art (up close)

Bird Art (on their home wall)

In other wall art, check these beauties out.  I've had a lot of people asking, How's the nursery coming?  Did you paint?  Do you have a theme?  The last question left me puzzled at first, thinking I didn't want to be tied down by a genre when it came to clothing, bedding, and the look of the baby's room.  Well, turns out we really like animals, and Baby H-G better like animals or we're out of luck.  Below is the felt and chalk animal frames that are now in Baby H-G's animally themed room.  And yes, I made them all sleepy looking; it's part of my brain-washing program that will result in Baby H-G being the world's best sleeping infant.

Sea (Sleeping) Adventure

The Wise (Sleeping) Owl

And because I have to mention yarn, check out these slick Newsies Hats (you can find the pattern for free here).  Baby H-G is going to come home quite the stylish little man.  Who knows?  Maybe with this chic new look, printed newspapers will replace the ever-growing popularity of online news articles.  Who wouldn't want to buy newspapers from diaper-clad studs in these hats?  Luckily, I've made some girl colored ones in case he picks up any cuties in the nursery, while he's making his rounds selling the daily paper.

Am I really posting this at one in the morning?  Yes, yes I am.  It seems that Pregnancy Induced Crafting also has a side effect of insomnia.

Goodnight All,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The White T-Shirt Experiment - 87.9% Progress Report

We have now hit 35 weeks (and one day - if you're counting), meaning less than 5 weeks remain until the due date of Baby H-G!  Wanting to keep you posted on the exciting research done with the White T-Shirt Experiment, let there be no further delay to the latest findings!  Here are weeks 28 - 35:

28 Weeks

30 Weeks

31 Weeks

32 Weeks

33 Weeks (sorry this one is a bit blurry!)

35 Weeks

As you can see, the front of the White T-shirt is struggling to stay down as the FOB (force of belly) strains its fabric.  For another comparison, here is the Belly Perspective:

28 Weeks

30 Weeks

31 Weeks

32 Weeks

33 Weeks

35 Weeks

We'll keep trying to keep you up to date on the H-G Happenings.  Any wagers Baby H-G is early? late?  We'll soon find out!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What the Cool Kids Are Doing These Days

Some of you may know that I have dabbled in various crafty things.  Others of you may think, wait a minute... Maggie's in her 20's, isn't that stuff for, well.... this lady??

"Old Lady Knitting" courtesy of Google Images
Yes, she obviously is a skilled knitter.  However, old school crafting has a new class of students - young and old, guys and gals, red fish and blue fish - the cool kids are all getting their craft on.  You should, too.

Here are a few bits and pieces from my Crafting Resume:
  • I started off with the basics as a kid, sewing bean bags that I filled with rice or dried beans (only to be chewed through by mice and their contents devoured when I tucked them away into a closet), 
  • Basic quilts (with the help of my mom),
  • Pajamas (with the help of my step-mom), 
  • Jewelry (even selling some at a local gas station), 
  • Candle making (burned my thumb so bad I had a marble-sized blister that I had to drain puss from every few hours), 
  • And my latest obsession is yarn, specifically knitting and crocheting with it.

So, this mother-to-be wants you to know you can be just as cool as me.  Well, almost as cool as me.  (C'mon, no one can actually be as cool as me, right?  right guys?  uh... *insert blank stares here*)

Anyhoo, I wanted to share a tiny little pattern to crochet a cute little flower.  Fellas - I'm still new to this whole pattern thing, so I don't know how to make something cool like a sail boat or monster truck.  Once I do, you'll be the first to know.  An adorable little hand-made flower could be quite impressive to the ladies, though.  I'm just sayin'....

For those of you that are novices, here's a break-down:

These are knitting needles.  Notice there are two and they are pointy on one side, with stoppers on the other side.

This is a crochet hook.  Take note that one side has a little hook, while the other is just there... no stoppers or anything.

Here is an example of some flowers made out of worsted weight yarn (you can see the quarter as a size reference):

Loops & Threads Impeccable Yarn, Worsted
{Crochet Hook Size I}

And these are flowers made with different sized yarn so you can see how much it varies:

Multi-Colored Sensations Bamboo & Ewe Yarn {Crochet Hook Size D}
Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn {Crochet Hook Size Q}
Lion Brand Cotton Ease Yarn {Crochet Hook Size H}

Now that you're professionals, here is the pattern!

Cutsie Crocheted Flower

Yarn/Sizing Note: Depending on the project you are working on, you could potentially use any kind of yarn, of any color, weight, thickness, etc.  Just be sure to use the appropriately sized crochet hook according to your yarn weight/size.  I’m a big fan of worsted weight, so that’s what I’ll use in this pattern.  You won’t need that much yarn, so feel free to look around for left over yarn after bigger projects.

Flowers with Worsted Weight Yarn
Worsted Weight Yarn
Crochet Hook Size I / 9 / 5.5mm
Tapestry Needle
Button/fastener/etc. (optional)

ch = chain
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
st = stitch
sl st = slip stitch
*instructions* = repeat steps

Round 1: ch 3, sl st to join to form ring.
Round 2: ch 2, 12 hdc into ring, sl st to join into top of first hdc. (12 stitches in this row)
Round 3: *4 dc in first st, sl st in next st*, repeat that sequence six times to form petals, ending with sl st.
Finishing: cut yarn 6 inches from hook and pull through loop on hook to tie off.   Weave ends into back of flower so out of sight and trim.  Attach to any project by using matching yarn, or contrasting yarn and sew directly on to project, or add pin/barrette/fastener to back of flower.  A button can be sewn in the center for a fun/chic look.

Of course a real pattern gets to have a disclaimer so you know if you can use it for selling or not!  Here you go: I give permission for this pattern to be used for private or commercial use, but please tell your friends you found it at lifehyphenated.blogspot.com.  Thank you!

Happy Crafting!


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Big Mac Shelf & Other Pregnancy Perks

A lot of pregnant women describe the woes of what happens to their bodies, and the affects that pregnancy hormones have on them - nausea, swollen feet, growing belly, dizziness, mood swings, etc.  However, there can be some great advantages to pregnancy.  Allow me to introduce you to Exhibit A, the Big Mac Shelf, pictured below.  Watching TV and having a difficult time holding your Big Mac while you eat?  Problem solved.

Exhibit A: The Big Mac Shelf
Another bonus to pregnancy is the Expectant Mother Parking.  Tired of driving around the mall parking lot, only to have to park in the furthest spot possible and walk?  Grab a pregnant lady and get a spot up close!

Exhibit B: Preggo Parking

One additional perk of pregnancy I want to mention is the encouragement that comes from friends and family.  At a baby shower recently, the guests were asked to fill in the blanks on a card showing their wishes for Baby H-G.  Here are a few I wanted to share with you...
  • I hope you aren't afraid to be different
  • I hope you love a girl with all your heart
  • I hope you grow a beard (every man needs one someday)
  • I hope you aren't afraid of the dark - it happens every 12 hours :)
  • I hope you grow into a loving man
  • I hope you ignore the little things that bug you
  • I hope you never forget your house key, because your mom won't have it
  • I hope you respect the Red Wings
  • I hope you aren't afraid to take chances
  • I hope that you know how much you are loved

So, for the preggers out there - what are the perks you've had during pregnancy?  And for everyone - in thinking about your wishes for the next generation, what would you write?


Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm a Bawler, I'm a Mother

This one goes out to the Bailey Girls.

I'd like to add a preface to my tale, as it is not meant to be sad, but hopeful; a way to see how emotions are powerful and can effect all of us differently.  Here goes...

I was maybe seven or eight when I attended my great-grandmother's funeral.  My mom and I had made a special trip beforehand to the store to pick out a black velvet dress, white tights, and black shoes.  Later while we stood outside near the casket at the grave site, I found myself crying uncontrollably, and the sleeves to my pretty black dress suffered the consequences of not having tissues on hand.

After the service, one of my aunts came up to me and said, "so you're a bawler, too?"  She had wadded tissues in her hand, and had obviously been crying just as hard as I had been, her eyes pinked and her voice cracking.  I didn't know my great-grandmother well, and was quite surprised at the strong reaction I had had at her funeral.  But it was sad.  And I had felt the need to cry.  So, I did.

Now that I'm a mother to be, the cliché is that I am overly emotional, cry easily, and snap at little things.  I'm sure Brad can attest that I may have these reactions with pregnancy, but crying easily - for both big moments and tiny passing thoughts - was a symptom I had long before.

I fall for the usual triggers - weddings, funerals, big life events - , but can have the same response for children's movies, commercials that show soldiers returning to their families, reports on NPR about hopeful or tough life choices, TV dramas with emotional scenes... the list goes on.  I'm a Bawler, folks, plain and simple.  And despite it being slightly embarrassing when my reaction is out of place, I've come to terms that it's part of who I am, and I'm sure motherhood will only intensify that reaction.  So sorry kiddo, but your momma is a Bawler.

When I meet Baby H-G, I most likely will cry.  In fact, I would be surprised if I didn't cry.  This little guy nestled inside my belly has been my companion for the past 32+ weeks, and I can't wait to see what he looks like, what it's like to hold him, and hear his heart beat when I place my ear on his chest.

32 1/2 Weeks

So no matter your circumstances, I think there comes a point where we recognize our strengths, our weaknesses, and grow by building on our strengths and learning from our weaknesses.

From friends, family and strangers alike who have shared advice and guidance about having kids, we know the months and years to come will be exciting, terrifying, joyful, difficult and a lot of fun, but that's what life is all about, right?

I'm a Bawler, Wife, Blusher, Sister, Hugger, Daughter, Shower-Singer, Friend, Knitter, Mother... - what about you?


Sunday, October 23, 2011

32 Weeks - A long overdue note

Yes, updates have been absent for far too long. It isn't fully out of neglect; our usual main computer has been pushed aside and we have been a bit distracted due to recent occurrences. Since the past update, we have had flooding in our house that has caused significant damage.
This was before the restoration company's giant industrial dehumidifier died and leaked water all over the place and they had to tear out more flooring.

So, before our son arrives, we'll be getting new flooring throughout the kitchen and dining room, a new ceiling in the basement, and carpets cleaned throughout.

But this post isn't really about that at all.

This post is instead a sappy: "THANK YOU!" With generous baby showers, wonderful hand-me-downs, borrowed Jeeps, friends flying in from Missouri and ending up vacuuming up water, borrowed dehumidifiers and fans, frantic calls about how to turn off the water supply, tutorials on pressure fittings, and more - we have been awe-struck by how incredible our friends and family are.


Also, a huge congratulations to my beautiful sister Stacey and her new hubby. You are amazing for each other.
We left the photographing of the bride to the professionals, but here we are

Monday, September 26, 2011

White T-Shirt Experiment: 2/3's Report

Well folks, we've reached the two-thirds mark - now on to the third trimester! It's been a little while since we've provided an update to the White T-Shirt Experiment.  (For those of you who haven't heard of this project, check out the initial description here, and the half-way report here).

Here's our starting point of the experiment:
8 Weeks

Now here is the beginning of the Second Trimester
Weeks 14, 18 & 21

And a slight pause to recognize the discovery of Maternity Jeans.  Look Ma - no zipper!
24 Weeks

And we'll finish with the final week of the Second Trimester:
27 Weeks

As you can see, I am slowly working my way out of the White T-Shirt, but have 12 more weeks to see what will develop.

Finally, here is a progression of the Baby Bump unhidden:

Weeks 21, 23, 24, & 27

Happy Fall, Everyone.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

So we've talked about the Power of Pickles in deciphering pregnancy (if you missed it, check it out here, which are one of the stereotypical cravings of The Pregnant Species.  However, in speaking with other Preggers out there, I have discovered there seem to be two paths of food desires - those that have strong cravings for unique things, and those that mainly form aversions to food.  I have been a part of the Aversion Clan.

Despite my growing list of Things I Would Only Eat If I Wanted to Taste it a Second Time 5 Minutes Later, there have been a few food items that have brought comfort.  I thought I might share them with you.

Have you really eaten a Family Size bag to yourself?
Not entirely - I shared a few... sparingly...
Are you proud of that?
Yes, yes I am. You should always share.

York Peppermint Patties

Most desired dish?
Pancakes, hashbrowns and fried eggs (over-medium); glass of OJ. NO MEAT.
Best time to eat it?
Any time really, though I'm particularly partial to 10:30pm for a Second Dinner. God bless you and your International House of Cheap, Delicious, 24-hour Awesomeness.

International House of Pancakes (image courtesy of Google)

Quantity consumed per week?
Two pounds, un-shared.

Sweet Cherries (roughly 2 lbs.)
Sweet Cherries (close-up of their deliciousness)

Do you eat it on its own?
What?!  No, that's silly though I still have 13 weeks to develop new habits.  I have it on pasta, rice, muffins, bread, pancakes, you name it.
Most noticeable side effect? Greasy lip-gloss left behind on my lips after consumption.

Tub o'Margarine

Now, despite listing off these fantastic foods as if I eat them all day every day for every meal and even while sleeping, they can be fast fads that fade.  Who knows how long they'll last, and how much I'll abuse their awesomeness until they're added to the other list.

With this post, I must also announce I am nearing the end of the second trimester!  What does that mean?  According to baby books, iPhone apps, websites, and the general opinion of mothers who have gone through this process, it is the beginning of discomfort, and the general (lack of) coordination of a whale/mammoth/moose/pick-your-favorite-large-animal.  But, we shall see.

I shall leave you then to ponder what your comfort foods are - for the Preggers and Non-Preggers alike.  A summation of baby bumps through the trimesters will be soon on its way.

Happy Craving,