Thursday, July 9, 2015

Baby Saka's Nursery

Since the little mister could arrive any day now, I figure I should probably post some pictures of his nursery in its relatively pristine state. It's still not 100% done, and perhaps never will be, but - close enough!
The room isn't really themed. Perhaps if half-ikea, half-things-Saks-happen-to-like were a theme?  I tried to loosely base the room's color palette off of the cute fabric print I made the curtains out of - a kawaii cotton print from Hawaii.
All the places in the fabric are famous places in Japan! I just love this print so much, and it's quite colorful, but not garishly so.  For the curtains, I just made rectangular panels with a bar of chocolate colored fabric at the bottom. I was limited to the width of the fabric bolt, so the curtains, when fully closed, barely cover the entire window =_=.

I used the YHL curtain ring clip idea instead of curtain sleeves since I like the idea of just the fabric coming down instead of the entire curtain rod should some sneaky little boy decide to play tarzan in the future.   Also, I left out blackout shades for now.  I love how bright and cheerful the room is - and Sak thinks fore-going the shades will help baby establish a night/day cycle faster. We can always come back and add some later if needed.

Under the far side window is a bench made from an Ikea Kallax bookshelf, some mdf board, foam and bright blue fabric. There's many tutorials online for this, I think this is the one we used.
Konbu's favorite spot, caught mid-yawn.
The blue bins are also from Ikea, and Sak put vinyl stickers of the four playstation buttons onto them.  Hey, the kid needs to learn his shapes anyway, right? Right now the bins hold a combination of pumping supplies, extra sheets, blankets, etc.  The car road rug in front of the bench is from Ikea - quite cheap too, less than $20 I think.  I have a certain fascination with road rugs for some reason.  I think I secretly wanted one as a kid or something, and I may or may not have already tested out my family of Prius model cars on it already...

With another Hawaii fabric and the leftover curtain brown, I sewed some quick pillowcases for some throw pillows using the envelope method.

As for the art on either side of the far window - first, a pretty Leafeon print from this year's Fanime AA.
And on the other side, a Animal Crossing print from a past Fanime AA (slightly morbid - looks like granny's about to be attacked by a shark..), and a gorgeous watercolor Bible verse from Alvina! I was a little worried that I had asked for too lengthy a verse, but she did a great job and it looks awesome!

Next, the crib. Also from Ikea. It's a hensvik crib with a vyssa mattress that my parents lovingly picked up for me since I was taking too long on the whole deciding thing. Haha. Under the mattress is a crib skirt made from more of the curtain fabric (though I got realllly cheap and lazy - and only put skirt panels on two of the four sides. You can't see them anyway! It doesn't matter!).

Also under the mattress is the Angelcare movement monitor.  It's pretty interesting - monitors baby's breathing and alarms if no movement is found.  It's incredibly sensitive too - simply waving a blanket around above the crib will trigger the sensor!
The mattress is a little on the soft side though, which kinda scares me after all the reading we've done on how hard mattresses are the best for SIDS prevention.  Good thing we have the movement monitor? We also have a Snuza clip, which clips on baby's diaper against his tummy, and monitors movement that way.  If no breathing is detected it will buzz him awake, and if still no breathing it will then alarm.  My family thinks I'm being a bit paranoid with the double monitor thing, but eh. Anything for an extra small shred of peace-of-mind?

Anyway, there's an Ikea waterproof mattress pad on top, and then an Ikea sheet enclosing everything.  I had trouble fitting non-ikea sheets to this mattress, so I just picked up about 4 of the plain Ikea brand. It'll do.  The blanket (which will not go in the crib - never fear!) is homemade from my brother's girlfriend - a super soft fleecey thing with crocheted edges, lovely!  And the mobile is a gift from our church baby shower. Fun fact - my mom ended up putting a lot of the stuff on our registry because I didn't know what to register for, and pretty much all the things she put on were purchased. lol. She must have the good taste?
Though I'm still quite tempted to replace the little hanging animals with more otaku-friendly felties. If I can ever summon the energy required..
Next, another window and a swing my grandmother bought.  Not sure if we'll leave it in this room or not - if I move it to the living room later I will probably find another small shelf to put under the window.
Can you spot Sak's to-do project?  Electrical cord safety! Yip Yip
Also near the window peering down into the crib is our Costco Belkin video monitor that Sak mounted to the wall.  Originally a christmas gift used to spy on Konbu the cat while at work, it'll now serve for spying on baby.
Sister wants to add some stickers to it so it looks like GLaDOS, but there's something inherently creepy about that, eh?
Alright, reading corner section~

The glider came from a thrift store - brand new in the box from Target! I don't know if it's just our local Goodwill or not, but there tends to be a bunch of brand new, discontinued items from Target there all the time. Anyway, there's a comfy blanket that Sak's aunt gave us for Christmas a few years ago - embroidered with the family name and kanji.  And a faux sheepskin rug from Ikea. Because who doesn't love naked baby pictures on a fluffy sheepskin? So classic.

The side table also came from Goodwill, brand new in box.  I was hoping it'd be the nice dark brown color seen in the rest of the room, but it's pretty much black. Oh well. Added the little towel my mom embroidered when she first found out I was pregnant. Ties it to the room a little better I think!
There's a badtz-maru trashcan in the corner, pretty hidden.  The remote is for the new fan that Sak and my dad installed.  The old ceiling fan was off-kilter and extremely wobbly.  This one is nice, inexpensive one from Lowe's. It goes forward and back, and has a light dimmer (useful for late night rousings I'm thinking).

Also there's a small basket inside the side table which I'm using to hold some of the cute burp cloths my grandmother made! She appliqued so many cute things to standard cloth diapers - perfect for cleaning up nasty spit up lol.
On the wall behind the glider is some fun stuff - a trio of prints from Fanime artist alleys.
Animal crossing, Totoro catbus crossed with a MUNI bus (hilarious, but I'd like to think catbus is more reliable than muni >.>), and Pokemon's jirachi in starry night style.
A second water color Bible verse from Alvina.  This verse is one of my absolute favorite necessities - since I am scared of everything, all the time (hence, things like the double breathing monitors).  Having a Biblical reminder that I am not doing this on my own is incredibly reassuring.
((Thanks again, Alvina!))

This interesting thrift store frame turned into a perfect Pokemon capsule toy shadowbox.  I will put pictures of baby into the background later..once he has some non-ultrasound pictures lol.
Croagunk fell over (I cropped him out at the right).  Will need to glue him down properly.
And a last-minute alphabet I put together.  I cut out the letters from the baby shower cards we received!  Unfortunately, most of the cards were light pastels, so the end result is quite light-colored.
Originally I was buying a bunch of small canvases to paint each letter of the alphabet along with an anime/game animal that corresponded (like, A for anteater (from Princess Tutu), B for bird (Dera from Tamako Market), C for cat (Chi from Chi's Sweet Home), etc.).  But my sister gave up helping me, and I got too lazy to paint, so it never got very far.  Boo. Oh well.

Next, the bookshelf ledges! This is a staple in nearly every nursery pinterest picture - the photo ledges from Ikea.  I had to jump on that bandwagon completely.  It's a great way to show off a colorful book selection and not take up valuable floor space.
So far nearly all my books have been collected from thrift stores, and I'm sure we'll add to it as we go along. I'll probably need that extra mini bookshelf near the window later to hold more books, I'm thinking :P
Dude there is an entire series of Pokemon board books. I must collect them all.
Never too early.
My mom made a custom book from Shutterfly, the story of Konbu the cat! It's super cute and has lots of his baby kitty pictures.
Under the book ledges is another mini bookshelf (and shoe shelf, apparently), in the shape of a truck that my mom found while thrifting.
There is probably nothing cuter than useless baby shoes. SQUEE.
The closet, while functional, isn't too much to look at.
Still using part of it for my clothes overflow. :P
Awesome Evangelion "diaper bag" and extra changing pads hanging up on the door.
And homemade clothing rod organizers made with printed cardstock glued to thin cardboard/chipboard.

Onto the last wall!
The changing table is another Pinterest nursery special - the hemnes dresser from Ikea. It's nice and large and inexpensive - and baby Sak will be using it until he graduates high school I am hoping. Maybe I'll let him paint it with his favorite whatevers or something.

The toy shelf that goes all the way across the top of the room is also from Ikea. I still need to paint over the shiny silver screws though.  I put my plushies across the top - various gifts from Sak, my mom, Friend E, BIL, Sister, or Friend T over the years.  I love how I can still (somewhat) remember where each came from. It's so nice to finally be able to display them all in one place (at least until baby starts his own collection of toys and plushies).
The little yellow guy is a hepatitis plushie from an awareness day giveaway in SF. @_@
The Ryo-ohki backpack plush was a purchase from my very first anime convention - Ani-Magic in Lancaster, CA.
Back down, the pokemon family prints were from this year's Fanime AA. I love them sooo much, ugh so cute!
Sleeping baby cyndaquil just might be my favorite. Or that poor magikarp. lol.
On the dresser we have a hand-me-down changing pad from a lovely co-worker, which I topped with a cute kitchen towel from Daiso. Yes, totally not useful or practical, I know.  The changing pad is attached via super-strength velcro to the top of the dresser.
It really is super strength velcro. doesn't budge an inch!
The baskets are from Daiso, 2 for $1.50, and I spruced them up with ribbons that came on baby shower gifts.
Right now the baskets hold some newborn-sized diapers and more appliqued burp cloths. Also the snuza clip and my sister's homemade snorunt peepee teepee are hanging out here for now. I'll need to add some vaseline, aquaphor and probably Q-tips soon.
And at the end, a hand-me-down wipe warmer from my aunt, and a froggy humidifier we bought from Target back when we were both sick and dying from colds earlier this year.
Trubbish emblazoned diaper genie and a mini-sized laundry basket from Ikea at the foot of the dresser.
The dresser itself holds all manner of clothes in various sized Ikea skubb baskets. Nothing above 6 months sizing though.  I got insanely lucky/blessed to receive hand-me-downs from a family with twin boys - talk about a ton of clothes! That, coupled with weekly thrift shopping for interesting pieces, I don't think we'll have a clothes shortage anytime soon.
Just the hat/shoe drawer. Those red cowboy boots were from when I was a baby!
And that's about it! Just need the baby now, haha.  I wouldn't mind adding a bit more art to the room eventually, and maybe a big ruler for marking the kid's height as he grows.  I'm sure as time goes forward I'll need to think up more toy-storage solutions.  I can't imagine he won't have toys all over the place, considering his parents are toy-hoarders themselves.  There's a scary thought.

We also need to put in some safety features sooner rather than later - a deadbolt at the top of the door that leads to the deck, maybe alarms for when doors or windows are opened, something to keep window blind strings out of reach, earthquake sticky putty to make picture frames extra secure, and of course electrical cord and plug safety.

Anything I'm forgetting for Baby Sak's room? I can't wait for him to show up so we can see how he likes it! (And whether or not the giant Jigglypuffs staring at him while he tries to sleep skeeve him out lol.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Penga's Pregnancy Helpers

I'm still pregnant, but at nine months now I feel like I can retrospectively look back on the bulk of it.  In case I ever decide to do this again (not sounding overly appealing at the moment, if my reoccurring dream of swimming in bathtubs of delicious salmon sashimi is any indication), here is a list of things I found useful during pregnancy:

- Snoogle body pillow. I wasn't going to buy one since they are expensive for a silly pillow, but after a week straight of back pain I went for it.  And have not looked back since.  Dubbed the Sak-replacement, I sleep in this thing like a koala on a tree trunk and it is heavenly. Definitely helped with the back pain, and for keeping me from rolling to my back while sleeping (preggos have to sleep on their side).  Both Sak and Konbu the cat are not that happy with it, since it takes up a good chunk of the bed and makes snuggling impossible.  But I don't need them, I have snoogle to snuggle. Mmhmm.

- Belly Butter.  I don't believe that stretch marks are preventable, but I do know that my skin itches like crazy while growing a child.  You could probably use any lotion but I liked this one because it doesn't have much of a scent to it, and I'm not big on slathering my entire self with smelly lotions.  Nearing the end of the journey and I've used two tubs of butter.

- Smoothies.  I never know what I want to eat.  I know what I don't want to eat, usually most of everything.  Some days I just eat cereal for dinner because it's the only thing that doesn't sound like it'll give me issues later (oh, the reflux!).  So I've been doing a lot of homemade smoothies throughout the pregnancy.  It's a good way to get some vitamins and fresh stuff to baby when I don't feel like eating anything.  Fresh fruit, kale and some milk usually cover the nutritional bases, and for some reason drinking food doesn't make me wrinkle my nose the way eating food does.  Maybe I'm just too lazy to chew? Could be.

- Tums.  Because of the reflux.  I use sugar free ones at night (per my dentist's recommendation, ha!) and regular during the day.  Be careful because the sugar free ones had a pregnant-lady warning label on them while the sugar ones did not.  Maybe I'm not supposed to have too much artificial sugar?  It doesn't usually matter since I don't take too many in a day, but one little nasty chalk tab can make all the difference when the pizza starts creeping back up your throat at 3 am in the morning.

- Heartbeat monitor.  I have a super cheapy one - it's not a doppler, just a glorified microphone that you stick to your belly.  It doesn't work in the early stages, so don't bother, but later on it's nice to just hear baby now and then.  If you can find him.  I don't know what I was doing but for a while I found I was listening to my own heartbeat.  Sak was like, "why they heck would the baby be way over there? That's probably your own artery".  Whoops.  And then I'm pretty sure I blew the speaker out because now I can't find anything although baby is very much alive and rolling around seemingly all the time.  This is probably why some doc's don't encourage you to get your own doppler.

-Folder for bills and notebook for notes.  Exactly that.  I had random insurance/dr bills all over the house, and actually got a "final warning" from one that I had forgotten and misplaced. Yikes.  Now I keep them all in one folder, and write the date and method of payment I used for each one.  So much easier to keep track of.  For the notebook, I write down details from each OB appointment, as well as any questions I have so that I remember to ask. Unfortunately, I haven't been great at keeping a daily journal, but that would have been even nicer I think.

- Tissues, snacks and water on hand at ALL times.  Being pregnant makes me mucous-ey (especially in the morning).  My co-worker nearly passed out once because all she had was sugar-free gum on hand while pregnant.  And water, well, everyone should be drinking water. All the time.  Even though it's lame tasting. Adding some lemon juice and drinking through a straw helps.

Other penga-specific notes - gummi prenatal vitamins get gross really quick, get a nice gel-coated horse pill.  Breakfast is the best meal of the day. Yogurt, oatmeal and fruit are in constant supply.  The pregnancy support brace works for back pain, but I don't like it much because it wraps around the stomach and I don't like the restricted feeling. I think that's about it.  I've been blessed with a pretty easy pregnancy, which I'm thankful for.  I'm almost disappointed that I didn't get to send Sak on any crazy late night craving runs.  Can't say he feels the same about missing out on that stereotyped right-of-passage.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fanime 2015

Fanime con 2015.  Perhaps one of the smoothest-run fanimecons yet?  A pleasant little gathering - Friend E, Cousin T and Friend M and J were all able to come this year.  Missing J's wife Friend R, and our Cal Poly friends, but all in all a nice group of people! Plus my sister. Can't forget her haha.
Taken on the last day. Hence, Sak's crazy hair.
Let's recap the events/halls.

- Registration.  Smooth sailing as it was last year. The new system of QR code scanning and tons of printers is really working well for them.  We picked up in a matter of minutes on Day 0 (Thursday night).  Someday I'd like to be able to pick which badge design I get, like at Otakon, but it's really a trivial matter.
Not reg, just a hall shot
not reg, but beginning of con when the pamphlet table was still somewhat orderly lol
- Swap Meet.  SO MUCH BETTER.  They moved swap meet to South Hall this year, which gave it necessary floor space and none of that fire-code capacity limitations that the civic center had.  I'd like to see it continue in the South Hall, as there was plenty of room (sellers only took up half the space).  In future years it'd be great if it could be filled up completely with sellers!

I found a few small things in Swap this year. Little Big Planet bookends and a mini sackboy plush for under $10 total, and a small CC figurine and Munna plushie for $3 each or so.
- Hotel.  We stayed at Saint Claire again, and they re-did the bathrooms which was nice.  Fanime policy changed to only handing out 2 special design room keys though, so we couldn't "collect 'em all".  There was also a fridge in our room, which was awesome! I don't remember if that's a new addition or not, but I like to think it is?
The room keys are always so fancy, I guess I can see why they were limiting them this year.
- AMV Contest. Fairly solid line up this year, nothing too bad, but nothing super stand-out either.  My favorite (and also best in show) was a Tonari No Seki-Kun amv, you can see here.  It's such an under-rated, yet amazing anime, and very short, non-committal episodes to boot.  Definitely a must watch/must read in my opinion.

- Anime Hell/AMV Hell/Midnight Madness.  Laugh out loud riot as usual. Always some of my favorite events.  However, being pregnant put a damper on things, and I had to go to bed just as midnight madness was starting. Exhaustion ain't no joke.  Sister was pissed, but I couldn't leave her there at con by herself, and none of the other "adults" wanted to stay and watch with her.  We are all too old and crochetey. So sad.  Next year, hopefully I'll find a bit more stamina.

- Dealer Hall.  To be honest, I don't get much thrill out of dealer halls anymore. Most of the stuff I can find online, and I'm not convinced their convention pricing is the greatest.  That said, we did get a nice big messenger bag to use as a diaper bag.  Sak was not interested in toting around some of the standard feminine options at most baby stores, so an otaku bag was the way to go.  Also, Sak bought me the Zelda heart necklace I've been fawning over since forever. It's so PRETTY.  I'm considering this my early push present. Haha.

- Artist Alley.  I was a lady on a mission this year.  A mission for cute nursery art. With animals perferably.  I spent a lot on prints, but ultimately got what I wanted (which I'll show someday when I ever finish the nursery..).  Mostly Pokemon, since that seemed to be the "animal" of choice in the hall.  Overall, the vibe from the AA was mostly prints (not as many crafts), a lot of Steven Universe (sister told me it'd be the "it" show this year), and a lot of custom "washi" tape (not actually washi material).  The tape was a new thing to me.  Someone must have found a supplier to do the custom tape, because many people sold it and it all looked to be the same size/quality.  I liked the idea a lot though! I bought two rolls for about $5 each I think?  The average hall price was $8 a roll.  Which is pricey, but remember it is custom designed tape.

- Gaming Hall.  Pretty much on par as year's past, at least from my weak gamer perspective.  My sister got into magic the gathering this year, so she and a couple of our friends planned to enter a tournament.  Unfortunately the staff member they asked gave them they wrong day for the particular tourney rule set they wanted to join, so they didn't participate.  Next year hopefully!  She got a few nice mats from swap meet in any case, and plenty of people to play magic with.

Tabletop, arcade, console, handheld - all types of games in their respective sections!
And giant jenga. Of course.
- Masquerade.  Still had a lot of issues like last year, it seems. Though the host was *much* better, there were still a LOT of audio/visual issues. Many of the acts had to start and stop. Also interestingly, masquerade ended super early. And the entrance system was different (and not well-advertised).  You had to go early in the morning to get a colored dot put on your badge, and then later your color would determine what group you could enter with.  We went semi-early and got the first grouping, so we didn't have to stand in line at all! So nice.  But I kind of felt bad for everyone in line that didn't know about the dot-system.


- Food.  So our Fanime staple - Hydration (the bento/boba place), is GONE. LAMENT. Instead, it was replaced with a place called "Boba Bar".  The drink selection was much smaller (and according to some, inferior).  The food selection was also much smaller. No more grilled saba (mackeral) bento for me :(  The one bright spot though - was the absolutely delicious pork belly rice bowl they had. So fatty and delicious though.  Aside from pork bowls we had the usual Pita Pit, giant naan, breakfast burritos, and grilled onion hot dogs. Not a fan of all the litter that the hot dog carts left on the floor though :/
There were little blue bun tabs everywhere.
- New Stuff.  Cousin T signed up to do the Anime Game Show this year, and she won second place and even got to do the championship round. But over a decade of being otaku, she really knows her stuff!  She's so awesome - dunno how she could keep her cool in front of all the people and remember things to answer the trivia questions!
Also, Cousin T and I went to the very tail end of the yaoi bingo event.  They hold it every year and we always say we'll go but never do for whatever reason.  We didn't see much, just a bit of dancing and prize raffles.  The prizes were really good though - pillows and signed prints and stuff - so if they have an event next year I think we'll have to go for the whole thing!

- Cosplay.  Good I guess? Fanime always has pretty good cosplay.  I was too tired to put anything together, unless this Kirby shirt counts lol. Only one person "got it", probably because I just looked like a rounder person in a frumpy shirt.  I should have found a more form-fitting shirt I guess.
Penga-Sis had two costumes this year - Medli, from Zelda windwaker.
Our Paw Paw helped her sew the dress, and the apron/bib thing is glued felt pieces.
She found the rest of the windwaker crew! 
And she also did a casualish Charizard X from Pokemon.  I think she needed wings, because she was a little too obscure at con.
Love Charizard X's colors though! 
Friend E did his Friend cosplay from 20th Century Boys.

That was it for this year. No fun group cosplay :(  Are we getting too old and tired and busy?! I hope not.

Anyway, here's some more hall shots of others.  Unfortunately, I did not take too many :P
Adventure time ladies
Assassination Classroom
Foxy from Five Nights at Freddies. Have you played this?! Such a scary game!!
Girahim from Zelda. Love the pose!
a trio of Rilakkuma!
And this is my one piece dressed cousin, lol.
All in all, I had a great time this year, even in my costume-less, energy-less state. This'll be the last convention for the year for me, sadly (we also went to Sacanime in January).  I don't intend to stop going to conventions once baby is born - in fact, we already pre-regged for 2016 Fanime - but I can't help wonder how it will change us as con-goers.  I don't feel like babies or small children belong at conventions (there's some crazy non-stroller friendly crowds and a lot of adult material - let's be real). So either we'll have to find a babysitter in the future or reduce the amount of time we spend at con.  I guess we'll figure it out as we go.