Tag Archives: baby

Fleece-Lined Freedom

December 1, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This time last year (December) I was pregnant, which was such a foreign feeling. The thought of spending the holidays with a little one was something I could barely wrap my mind around. Now, I can’t imagine my life without our tiny girl. This first year has been a joy, and it has meant so much to make Rosie a personalized mobile, headbands, teethers, etc. With cold weather just around the corner, a cozy poncho was in order. Turns out most vendors don’t make winter coats for 9-month-olds, and ponchos are a lot easier to just throw over a car seat anyway. Plus, I’m pretty obsessed with how cool she looks in it.

Folding Instructions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplies:

  • 1 yard linen fabric
  • 1 yard fleece fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match fabrics
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Cut felt fabric to 1 yard x 1 yard
  2. Fold felt fabric in half, twice, to form a smaller square.
  3. Fold corner-to-corner to form a triangle shape.
  4. Using your scissors, cut a slight circular curve through all layers of the fabric.
  5. Unfold into a near-perfect circle. Lay on top of the linen fabric, and cut out the same shape.
  6. Measure the size of your child’s head and cut out a circle that size in the center of the felt fabric.
  7. Cut out a slightly larger circle out of the center of the linen fabric.
  8. Hem the linen fabric about 2 or 3 inches in from the large circle, and about 1/4 inch from the small circle.
  9. Lay the linen fabric centered over the felt fabric, and using a sewing machine, sew the two pieces of fabric together.
  10. Cut into the visible felt fabric about 2-3 inces, all the way around, to create a fringe.

This article was printed in the Winter 2016 edition of Family Guide, an Omaha Publications magazine.

Forest Friends

December 7, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Since my husband and I found out that we are expecting, my mind has been on all things baby. With the holiday season in full swing, I love seeing rustic woodland decorations adorning stores, homes, and on my Pinterest board! With wintery things in mind, I had the idea to make a Christmas mobile for our nursery. Craft these little guys for yourself, and you can use them as a baby mobile, tree ornaments, or even string them up and use them as a garland. Merry Christmas and happy crafting!

What You’ll Need:

  • Felt in various colors
  • Medium and small needles
  • Black thread and embroidery string in various colors
  • Scissors
  • Printer paper
  • Black, round beads
  • X-Acto blade
  • Hot glue gun
  • Polyester filler
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Fishing line

Directions

  • Find a pattern that you would like to follow for your forest friends. I found mine at liagriffith.com.
  • Print out pattern.
  • Cut out each piece with an X-Acto blade.
  • Trace each piece onto the felt of the same color. If you are creating two of the same shape it may be best to turn the paper over and trace from the back side for the second piece. This way you can avoid having pen lines show after you cut them out.
  • Hot glue any smaller pieces onto the main body of each animal.
  • With the small needle and thread, sew black bead eyes onto the body.
  • With medium needle and embroidery string, blanket stitch around the edges of the two body pieces to create a pocket for stuffing.
  • Stuff the pocket with filler to give your critter some shape. Be sure to start doing this before you sew up many of the edges!
  • String fishing line through the top of the animal and hang it from the embroidery hoop.
  • Hang each forest friend at a different length to add dimension to your mobile, and attach hoop to the ceiling.

Forest-Friends-1

Forest Friends 2

 

 

 

 

A Family Downtown

December 9, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It helps to have an elevator.

Which is just what Kristin Brown tells friends and the curious whenever they ask how in the world she’s going to get that baby stroller and other infant paraphernalia into her home. “We always get the question, ‘How are you going to carry all the baby gear in from the car when living on the second floor?’” Brown says. “To their surprise, our response is ‘Do you have an elevator in your home?’

“It’s not any more difficult living off ground level to get groceries or gear inside. It’s quite easy, and not something that should discourage someone from living in a condo.”

Kristin and her husband, Scott, have been doing just that since 2007 when the couple moved into the Kimball Lofts at 15th and Jones streets.

They had figured that when they began their life together, it would be in a house: The kind with a yard and a driveway (and mowing and shoveling). They were suburbanites, after all. Both grew up in west Omaha, attending Millard North High School together before graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Their first search for a home brought them to the Dundee neighborhood. The Browns found a house they liked but waited too long to bid on it. It was snatched up by the next day. Soon thereafter, Kristin got Scott to join her on the Downtown Condo Living Tour. That took them to Kimball Lofts.

“Neither of us had spent much time Downtown, but we knew we loved city living,” Kristin says. “Within minutes of touring the Kimball Lofts building we could picture ourselves starting our lives there as a married couple.

“The minimalist lifestyle was most appealing. We knew we’d use every bit of space in our condo. And we love to travel, so being able to pick up and go without the responsibilities that came with a traditional home was important to us.”

Still, the Browns figured their downtown living was only meant for two—and not for children. Once a third Brown was added, they’d get a home with a yard. “We assumed that’s where we’d end up sooner rather than later,” Kristin says. Sooner came in 2014 with Kristin due to give birth to her first child, Brock,  in August. It wouldn’t be long until the 1,500 square feet they were sharing wouldn’t be enough.

They considered building on a lot in West Omaha, but without knowing how large their family would grow, found it difficult to commit to plans. They wanted something move-in ready. They found it across the hall in the largest condo in Kimball Lofts. Their neighbors had moved out. The Browns moved in. Now they had two bedrooms and gobs of entertaining space amid nearly 2,600 square feet.

“We decided to reevaluate our desires and what was important to us,” Kristin says.

The condo is ideal for entertaining. Natural light floods every room through tall windows inset into exposed exterior brick walls. The tops of young trees along 15th Street are visible and promise a dazzling palette come every fall.

Guests first enter a large kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances and a long stone countertop that seats six at bar stools. That flows into the living room and dining room, where the Browns have a table that can host 16 guests when it unfolds. Off the dining room is a small deck where Scott frequently grills. There’s a room for baby Brock and a spacious master bedroom. The ceiling is high and exposed throughout.

Kristin parks underground in a heated garage; Scott has a street-level stall in a gated lot. Their commute is almost nonexistent as both work downtown in sales, Scott at Gallup, Kristin with Pfizer.

“Not having to fight traffic day after day is a huge benefit,” she says.

Yes, there are space constraints. In their previous condo, Scott’s bikes—he rides regularly and competes in triathlons—were stored in the hallway. There’s room for them now in a closet, but today the baby stroller takes residence in the hallway. And the dryer is stacked atop the washer in their walk-in closet (at least there’s no trip to put away clean clothes).

But if they have to do with less stuff, they certainly have more stuff to do. The Browns are outside more often, perhaps, than their suburban counterparts with yards. From their condo, Scott can hit trails that take him through Iowa on the Wabash Trace or to Fort Calhoun. They walk downtown frequently—to the pedestrian bridge or throughout the Old Market. And quite frequently to dinner.

“Being able to walk out our front door to the best restaurants in Omaha is a huge perk,” Kristin says. “And everyone knows everyone. There’s nothing better than going to the local market or our favorite restaurant or coffee shop and being greeted by our first name.”

20140923_bs_2989

Review: Dry Shampoo

August 16, 2013 by

When I had my first baby last year, I quickly realized the luxury of spending 30 minutes blow-drying and styling my hair was a thing of the past, since getting in a daily shower was proving to be a struggle. So I went on the hunt for a dry shampoo that could cut down my morning routine. I tried a few different brands from the drugstore and salon, but many left a visible white powder on my dark hair or had a strange texture.

Finally, I found Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo and now swear by this. My stylist is actually hooked, too! It soaks up the grease, plus it adds tons of volume and texture. The smell is strong at first, like hairspray, but doesn’t linger.

For best results, I first spray my roots with a bit of water and then a light spray of the product. A fast blow-dry and I’m good to go. I’m able to go two to three days between washes, which has helped keep my hair healthier than when I was washing it daily. It works great on post-gym hair, too. The size of the product may seem small for the price, but it lasts about two months when used three times a week.

Next time you’re in a hurry, give ‘dry’ a try. You just might get hooked as well.

Alicia Smith Hollins and Zelda

January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Alicia Smith Hollins, 34, says she was never much of an animal person growing up. Her two sisters sisters were always the ones wanting to take care of the family’s yellow lab, Gunner, and brown lab, Penny, while Smith Hollins was “more into getting into trouble.” But something changed when she and husband Trevor Hollins took in Zelda, a 9-year-old Miniature Schnauzer.

Smith Hollins, a sales associate with Omaha Publications and an alumna of Duchesne Academy, thought about getting a dog after she and Trevor moved into their Aksarben Village home, but they never got around to it. It wasn’t until Trevor’s mom’s co-worker was looking for a home for one of her show dogs that Zelda found her way into their care. “Trevor’s parents’ dog had just died, so they had Zelda over for the weekend to see if they were ready for another dog. But then we took her for a weekend, and she ended up staying with us for good,” she says. 20121219_bs_8082 copy

Zelda originally had just been called Z, which was short for another name that Smith Hollins says she can’t remember. “We figured if we wanted to change her name, it needed to start with a Z, since she was already 6 years old when we got her. So we called her Zelda, which Trevor liked because he loves [The Legends of Zelda] video games, and I have always been fascinated with reading about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.”

One of the things Smith Hollins says she and Trevor liked the most about Zelda was that she had been trained to be a show dog, so she was already potty-trained and didn’t chew up all of their things. However, Smith Hollins did worry that Zelda had experienced some trauma during the somewhat grueling training of the show dog life. “Her tail was cut incorrectly, so she actually couldn’t participate in the shows, but she was bred twice. Her second birth was a C-section, and she apparently almost died.” Another issue Smith Hollins encountered with Zelda was her teeth. “Apparently, Schnauzers have bad teeth, so we took her to the doggy dentist a few months after we got her, and they pulled 11 teeth. The next year, they pulled nine, so she doesn’t have a lot of teeth left, but I think she would be in more pain had we not done it.”

Smith Hollins' son, Logan, plays with Zelda in the family's backyard

Smith Hollins’ son, Logan, plays with Zelda in the family’s backyard.

In terms of activity, Zelda is a fairly laidback dog. Smith Hollins says she doesn’t go on walks or play with toys but rather prefers to cuddle and be petted. “She won’t walk on a leash, [and] she won’t go to the bathroom on a leash because show dogs are trained not to do that, so we really don’t take her for walks…She had one toy she played with for a while, but she chewed it up. I tried to buy the same toy again, but she hasn’t touched it.”

Although Zelda is timid, she has become more protective of the family over time, especially with Smith Hollins’ 2-year-old son, Logan. “I think it’s adorable because she really doesn’t want to play with him, but she wants to protect him.”20121219_bs_8030 copy

She admits that, at first, she feared that Zelda would have a hard time adjusting to having a baby around, as she had always been the baby and slept by Smith Hollins’ side every night. But after Logan was born, Zelda began sleeping by his bed every night and even started barking if someone was at the door.

While Smith Hollins thinks Zelda can have really weird quirks that make her seem somewhat high-maintenance, she says she loves Zelda because she is a perfect lap dog. “If you are having a bad day, she will let you cuddle up to her.”