It's New Year's Eve and with Comfort and Adam back in town they came over to hang out with us.

Chris sketched an elaborate menu of different snacks available. We didn't end up making all of them, but most of them were around for devouring. 
 We hung out a bit and watched some internet videos together while they sketched.
Then headed into the kitchen for brownies, ice cream, and silliness before the new year.

Today I experimented with the maternity insert for my button jacket that I made yesterday. It worked well enough, although because I made it with so much extra room to grow, it was easy for a cold blast of air to get under my jacket.
So I added another set of button holes to the insert for that connects to the left side of the jacket (where the interior buttons are). I added the holes a few inches in so that the fit would be tighter and then, as needed, I can always move the insert to the outer button holes.

I think this will work nicely. We will see tomorrow when I wear it out and about on lunch.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the whole thing isn't super pretty, but someone with better sewing skills than I could make the front of the insert more appealing (so you wouldn't have to hide it with a scarf) and fancy it it up a bit.

I just think it's really cool that the whole thing came out decent enough that it's usable. I suppose this is how you get better at sewing. You keep doing random projects.

Being 7 months pregnant when the cold weather starts to hit means that my normal coat doesn't quite button right. It still closes, but I'm getting close to the end and the weather is finally starting to be winter temperatures.

Maternity jackets are expensive. And the only decent alternative I've been able to find is this $60 zipper insert that requires zippered jackets. And, for $60, you might as well hunt around for a cheap maternity jacket or just pay $20 more and get a whole jacket.

Since my jacket is all buttons and I only have two months to go, I decided to try to make my own insert. I ended up buying way more fabric than I needed, so I spent roughly $35 when I probably could have done this for $15. But now I have extra fabric for some future project.
I bought both quilted and wool and decided to make one side quilted (inward facing) and the other wool. The black wool bolt that I could find wasn't quite as dark or heavy as my existing jacket, so the extra quilted backing should help keep things relatively warm.

After sewing the two pieces together and flipping it inside out, I got to work with putting on buttons to connect to the right side of the jacket.

Initially I was going to use elastic loops to connect to existing backing buttons on the left side of the jacket (where the buttons are). But after messing around a bit trying to make the loops stay connected to the tiny backing buttons it was obvious that wasn't going to work.
Chris suggested just sewing some larger existing buttons I had right next to the backing buttons on the jacket. Since the actual buttons on the outside of the jacket are huge, I could sew in the second set of buttons next to the backing buttons and no one would be the wiser. So that's what I did.

That also meant I needed to use the button hole option on my sewing machine. And it worked amazingly. I love that thing. I didn't even have to touch anything. It just auto button holed wherever I told it to. I want to now put buttons on everything.
The end result is that I can button the insert to the inside of my jacket...
And then button the other side to the existing holes on the right side of the jacket.

It looks silly in the photo and not quite straight, but it stays put.
And with a scarf on, you can't even tell. It feels a little weird wearing it because the jacket isn't closed, but with the scarf on, you really can't tell. And since it just buttons into the existing button holes, it's easy to still get the jacket off.

Right now the insert is almost too big since I wanted to make sure I had room to grow. Plus I could always wear layers or a thick sweater. I suppose I could add another set of button holes and tighten things up if I needed, but for now I'm going to just experiment and see how things go.

The final dimensions of the actual insert ended up being 22 1/4" by 13 1/2". The whole project took me most of the afternoon since I really wasn't 100% sure how I wanted to do it and I'm not terribly proficient at sewing things. But I managed to avoid having to buy unnecessary clothing and I now know how to sew button holes. So that's a win to me!

Angel and Dan invited us over for a tasty dinner and to hang out a bit. Their little one, Lorelei, was not a huge fan of Chris. But after a few minutes of Baby Einstein she calmed down and would tolerate him.

Dinner was delicious, and I can now say I've had spaghetti squash. I'm definitely going to have to try making it at home sometime as it seemed like an easy substitute for spaghetti noodles.
We also headed down to check out Dan's new basement arcade. He has four working arcade cabinets and they're all awesome. Being able to play on an arcade machine without pumping it full quarters was great.

They also gave us a large bag of baby stuff. Toys, a book, a cute Spider-Man shirt. Hooray! We didn't actually have any toys, so now we do.

Ok, maybe I didn't play Dragon Age all day, but I played Inquisition a big chunk of the day. And it was glorious.

Hooray for another vacation day!

We arrived home on the earlier side last night (compared to usual) and were able to sleep in this morning. I know those days are numbered, so I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

Today we rounded out our Christmas celebrations by doing a small Christmas day together at home, which is what we love to do.

Chris always buys something for Leki so he emptied Leki's stocking that was full of little toy mice and treats.
All in all I think everyone here is having a good day so far. The cat loves this box (and pulled a mouse in there) and best of all, we don't have to run around. Hooray for lazy holidays!

We left the hotel early in the morning and headed out to my parent's house for day two of Christmas celebrations in metro Detroit. Chris's best friend who lives in China (named Chris), is in town so he came over to my parents house and they headed out for a few hours to hang out, shop, and catch up.
That meant I got to spend the day with my parents and Dayzee, who is happy to just have anyone snuggle up and rub her.

When the two Chris' came back we had a late lunch together. Then Chris headed out to meet up with some family. It was awesome seeing and catching up with Chris.
So we settled in to do gift exchanges before the weather got icy. In the photo you can see massive (and heavy) Marvel anniversary book my parents bought Chris. As Chris said, it's basically a coffee table!
They also bought two little onesies of our favorite characters - Green Lantern for Chris and Scooby Doo (with pants!) for me. Between what my friend Lori gave us and what we received these last two days, this kid is going to be all set to spit up on all sorts of clothes!

We started our annual trip to metro Detroit for Christmas celebrations at Chris's dad's house. We had some dinner Chris prepared the night before that we brought over, and then exchanged some gifts.

Chris bought his dad a little toy drum set since his dad used to play drums.
They turned out a little larger than we expected, but I think he was amused.
In the evening we headed over to his mom's house and spent some time with his brother Scot and his mom.
His mom bought us several baby outfits for the little one in a few months, including this fuzzy pajama with cats all over it. I've been looking all over and complaining about how all the cat outfits are pink and have ribbons all over them (because only girls apparently like cats) so I was really excited to see these non-pinkified cats.

Baking is all done, so now I've moved onto cookie preparation. Frosting and then wrapping everything thing up for various houses.

So. Many. Cookies.

They make a tasty breakfast!

I really didn't want to stretch baking out to three days, so I went a little crazy this morning. The rum balls were probably the easiest to make.
And the chocolate crinkle cookies probably the most time consuming because they had to be chilled before baking.
But I also made some mini-cheesecakes, peanut butter kiss cookies, and Russian tea cakes. All of the recipes I used (except the rum balls) I got from my mom, but the recipes I liked to are close enough.

I'm officially out of butter now, and I've already used over a dozen cookies, so I feel like I'm probably all set for now. And full. So full. I mean, I had to taste all of the cookies (except the rum balls) to make sure they came out alright!

After grocery shopping this morning, I decided to start in on some baking with my least favorite type of cookie to make - cookies you roll out. They're always delicious and pretty, but I hate rolling dough.

So I made a batch of my great grandmother's Champion White cookies, which are a lot of flour and some sour cream so they're basically a more flour-flavored sugar cookie. I prefer them, because that's what I grew up on, and I kind of think regular sugar cookies are disgustingly over-sweet, especially since they almost always have frosting on top of them.

I also made some Graham Cracker Chewy Bars, which I stumbled across years ago that taste a little like pecan pie in bar form.

I had a headache most of the day so after work I didn't want to do much. So we watched a little bit of the Marco Polo show on Netflix. It looks like there are some negative reviews floating around but honestly, it's really an entertaining show. Anyone complaining about it starring a white dude in China isn't familiar with who Marco Polo is.

I will admit that I would be fine if it was a show just about Kublai Kahn. Benedict Wong, who plays Kublai Kahn, is awesome.

My boss gave me a cute gift of fuzzy socks. I love fuzzy socks!

Comfort, Adam, and Dan (almost hidden behind Adam wandering around with google cardboard on) came over for a TV night tonight. Hooray for TV night!

I went out with some co-workers to celebrate Margo's birthday and almost ran into this creepy standee. It kind of bugs me that there's no head, but they put in hands. They should have left the hands out too and just gone all the way.

It's that time of year where random treats show up in the office. And today? A delicious, over the top cheesecake with chocolate.

Yeah! That's what I call a Sunday.

Finally, a whole day where I can mostly just play some Dragon Age: Inquisition. The photo doesn't do the game's graphics justice. Unfortunately, unlike the PS4, the Xbox One does not have any sort of screenshot option. Trust me though, the game looks very gorgeous.

My boss had ornaments made this year for the team. Hooray for an extra bauble on the tree!

Adam and Comfort came over for a few hours for TV night. They also flipped through some of Chris's art books, including his Andrew Loomis books that he loves.

Leki was less than thrilled. He boldly attacked pant legs and hung on, nails dug in. Sometimes that little guy is a monster when they come over. And by sometimes, I mean every time. He loves when it's just men who visit though. Dan is his favorite person to greet at the door.

Today was a longer than usual checkup. Well, the doctor was actually out for a last minute emergency, so I only met with the nurse. But lots of being stabbed with needles and drinking a sugary drink for gestational diabetes testing. Since I have Rh negative blood I was treated to an extra shot so my body doesn't potentially go after the baby if he has positive blood. But really, that shot wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

The great thing about Chris being home during the day is delicious dinner is cooked every night. Huzzah! I'm not sure how he isn't tired of it already. I would be.

I've been watching construction for Arena Place over by the Van Andel progress over the last few months. They're still at it.

They're building a lot of new things in downtown Grand Rapids. It will be interesting to see how well things are supported in a generation and if they can shift the mindset of the area to be more interested in coming downtown and paying for parking.

We went with Adam and Comfort to see Birdman this afternoon. Delightful! It reminded me of a very dark Noises Off (which I love).

It's that time of year again for the Toy & Comic Expo held twice a year in a small school gym about two miles from where we live. This year since Adam and Comfort have moved back into town, they decided to give the show a try.
It's coming off of the heels of the Grand Rapids Comic Con so there was a much smaller emphasis on the comic portion and a much larger one on general toy collection. Especially vintage toys. The crowd was also significantly older than I was. A lot of 50+ aged people toy hunting.

The show does have a certain charm (especially due to an announcer that spends a good portion of the morning giving out door prizes and talking about specials) that makes it amusing to go to, even if I don't personally collect anything they'd sell.

This was definitely a shorter gave than Origins. I didn't do every side quest and have every little conversation, but I did a fair amount and I was still able to complete this game in roughly half the time it took me to complete the first game.

But it's finally done and I can get into Inquisition, which I've been excited to play since last year when they really started to ramp up the media on the upcoming game.

Dan came over this evening so we hung out a bit in the living room catching him up on the latest internet videos, then went to go watch a movie.

Still plugging along in DA:II, trying to get it completed so I can finally get into Inquisition.

While I was at work Chris took advantage of the snow-free backyard to finish up leaf raking. Unfortunately there's a layer of frost keeping a lot of the leaves stuck to the ground.