Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Right now...

I am sitting on my couch with a cold glass of reisling! AHHHHH...I am by no means a huge drinker, but with hubs gone for the past 3 weeks, leaving right after Christmas/New Years...three bouts of snow and just simply taking care of everything (6 DC kidlets and 2 dogs) every day.


This feels good! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the road to baby H, First Doctor's Visit...

Well, of course this isn't a true FIRST visit for either of us...we are both almost 30 after all. This was our first infertility visit. Just for conversation purposes and to determine our next steps.

We met with our doctor...Dr. Mantione from my ob/gyn office yesterday morning. (My friend Megan sat with the daycare kiddos while we were away. I can't say enough about her...she really is a great friend, and I might not make it through if I didn't have her to rely on. Thanks Megan!) It was my first time meeting with him, and I was very impressed. He was very knowledgeable and kind. He listened to what I had to say as far as my background, asked a few questions and attempted to put us at ease. Aaron was pretty nervous. He might not show it much, but he's as anxious about this process as I am. Of course, he feels that his role is that of supporter rather than active participant...and maybe that's true. I don't know if I really want him to feel like he's an active participant until we achieve pregnancy. It's really stressful this stuff...and at times I don't want him to have to feel this way.
We talked about all the charting I've done, the length of my cycles, our attempts to time intercourse to ovulation and Aaron's deployments. Dr. M. asked a few questions of Aaron that I didn't think about and I relayed some information that was missed on my chart.

Basically, he said that to him it sounded less like a hormonal problem and he'd liek to jump right to testing for structural abnormalities and a semen anaylysis. I was slightly relieved that he didn't want to play around with hormones and start trying things like clomid and other therapies. I know everyone is different and everyone's fertility journey is very personal, but I've heard from friends that they've been on hormone therapy for awhile and all the while they've never been tested for uterine abnormalities, tubal disease, endometreosis or other issues. Some doctors go straight to drugs instead of trying to find the real underlying cause. So, I'm pleased that we've gone this route. Aaron's analysis is scheduled for next week but I have to wait for my test until I start my next cycle, because it is extremely time sensitive and they need to know the EXACT Day 1.
Although it doesn't sound like we're any closer...we have taken the first step toward assisted fertility, and that brings me some measure of relief. To know that we aren't in this alone anymore...makes the wait for my baby a bit more bearable.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DIY Diaper Cakes...

In 3 weeks, I am hosting a baby shower for my brother's girlfriend and their first baby, Benjamin. Martha, mom-to-be is a 37 year old, new-again mom with a 16 year old daughter from a previous relationship. Having such a huge age gap between the two children, plus this child being my brother's first, I just had to throw the shower for them.

I've been planning off and on since October, and really had some great ideas and projects lined up. Then Christmas happened and I really forgot about everything. So time's a crunching and I was at a loss for what to use as centerpieces. Would flowers be enough? What flowers to get? Where to get the flowers without it costing more than the venue rental? Then my sister had a brilliant idea! Diaper Cakes!

We found these diaper cakes, here, here and here, and were immediately in love with the cuteness, practical-ness and seeming ease of assembly.

Here is a simple tutorial, with pictures to show you how easy these were to complete.

Items needed for assembly:
  • diapers, of course - I bought a jumbo box of Pampers (combo size 1-2), 192 in total: I roughly estimated 24 diapers per cake, and I was able to make 8 cakes.
  • rubber bands - many, many rubber bands. You can also use those clear hair elastics, but I couldn't find enough.
  • pretty ribbon - to match your color scheme, you’ll need enough for each tier & the topper I bought roughly 18 yards of ribbon for the tiers, and 12 yards of topper ribbon.
  • bases - I bought 10" cardboard cake bases from Michaels...they come in packs of 12.
  • double sided tape
  • scissors
  • leftover toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls, cut in half) - one per cake.
  • other items for the cake topper, if you want to use something other than ribbon: flowers, toys, stuffed animals, etc.

Steps of assembling a small, two-tiered diaper cake:
Roll all diapers and secure with rubber bands. When I rolled my diapers the colored part of the diaper decorations were clearly visible. This worked for me, since they seemed to match our color scheme. If you don’t like this, try to find diapers without any decoration, or roll in from the fold to make this less noticeable.

Using the TP roll as a base, begin stacking the rolled diapers around the base and securing with a rubber band.
Continue until you have one layer of diapers.
Begin adding diapers in the 2nd layer, secure with rubber band. I used one rubber band per layer, simply to make it easier for myself. If you wish to use only one rubber band per tier, I’m sure it could be done.
Total diapers for bottom tier = 17-18

Begin assembling the top tier by grouping several diapers together and securing with rubber band, add diapers until the tier is as large as you’d like it to be.
Total diapers for top tier = 6-7

Ribbon time.
Begin by measuring how much ribbon you’ll need and cut to length.

Using double sided tape, attach ribbon to itself around diaper tier (covering the rubber bands)pulling tightly to ensure the ribbon will stay in place. Be careful when taping the ribbon to the diapers, if the tape adheres to the diapers may tear the paper covering.

Repeat for second tier.

On to the topper. I created a bow from ribbon, simply as a cost-effective method and it seemed the easiest for me to accomplish.

Using my Bowdabra (I originally purchased for my wedding back in 2009) I created a mini-fold/mini-twist bow. If you don’t have a bow-making tool, simply fold the ribbon upon itself creating 1 ½” – 2” loops, twisting at each fold, make sure to leave enough ribbon to act as tails when you’re done.

Twist ribbon string around to back of bow or secure with a small rubber band, or twist tie.
Fluff the ribbon loops to your liking and arrange on top of cake.
I rolled the ribbon strings on my toppers into the center diaper roll of the top tier. to ensure that the bow stayed on the top of the cake during transport and set up.
You could use a bit of double sided tape to secure it to the top, be careful attaching it directly to the diapers, the paper backing of the diapers could tear.

You can use other items to create your topper, such as cute baby supplies, bottles, binkys, socks, shoes, etc. or something soft and cuddly, like stuffed animals, or rubber duckies, or fresh/faux flowers.
Put the diaper cake onto your base and voila! A small two-tiered diaper cake and the perfect decoration and gift for a baby shower!
These will act as centerpieces for the tables. It will be very cute, since our actual cake will match the diaper cakes, so as to tie everything together! Stay tuned for more DIY baby shower decorations and pics of the actual day.

Diapers: 192 ct. jumbo pack: $29.88
Rubber bands: 2 packs @ $.49 each = $.98
Double sided tape: $3.49
Ribbon (6 spools, 30 yards): $27.93
cardboard base: $5.68
Total: $67.96

That breaks down to $8.50 per diaper cake (made 8 total). Online, a similar sized diaper cake pre-made could cost you $35.00. Total savings (for same number of cakes: $212.04!!
This project took me roughly 3 total hours to complete, mostly in front of the boob tube, and over several days.

Are you doing anything fun and exciting? Planning a party? Decorating a room? De-cluttering/organizing a space? Share!

Thanks for reading!