Keeping our pregnancy a secret from our families for over a month was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I so badly wanted to blurt it out each time we were together but we also knew we wanted to wait until after our first doctor appointment to spill the beans. When the time finally came, I knew just how I wanted to do it.
My mom was the youngest of six kids, so growing up I had more first cousins from her side than I could count. My grandpa kept a photo album on his coffee table with a picture of each grandchild wearing a shirt of their birth number. Being the youngest of all the grandkids, I was in the last slot of the book wearing number 22. I have so many memories flipping through the pages of that book and studying each picture when I was little. I knew that would be a special and nostalgic way of breaking our baby news to my family.
Here the photos of my siblings and me from the album. (Work it sister! :) )
I bought plain shirts for each of my nieces and nephews at Hobby Lobby (50% off) and picked up several different colors of acrylic craft paint along with textile medium for the numbers. I printed out the numbers on regular paper and then traced them onto the dull (non-shiny) side of freezer paper. Next, I cut the inside of the numbers out and ironed the paper to my shirts. The freezer paper adheres to fabric like a sticker when heat is applied and stays in place until you peel it off.
Next, I mixed two parts acrylic paint to one part textile medium and used foam brushes to apply the paint. You want to use thin coats otherwise the paint will bleed under the stencil and you won't get a clean line.
You can speed up the drying process with a hairdryer but I found it dries pretty quickly on its own. After letting them sit for a few hours, I peeled off the freezer paper and the shirts were ready! The paint is a bit stiff at first but softens up after a couple washes. You can use this method of fabric painting with other designs too. Just find an object you like, print it and trace it onto freezer paper. It's super easy and much cheaper than having shirts professionally made.
Once the shirts were ready, we needed an opportunity to hand them out when everyone would be together. A day at the park presented itself and we capitalized!
I realized my only shot at a captive audience with five children under the age of six was while we were eating. I grabbed my stack of shirts, told the story of how I wanted to carry on the tradition of a grandkids photo album, and handed out numbers 1, 3 and 5 to my sister, and numbers 2 and 4 to my sister-in-law. Everyone oohed and aahed at my craftsmanship (thank you, thank you very much) while I casually held up a teeny tiny onesie, prominently displaying the number six.
"And in 7 months..." I said.
There were shrieks, tears, hugs, and more tears. The kids rubbed my belly and we commenced an epic photo session.
|Is she my sister's daughter with that pose or what?!|
Now my mom and dad can each have their own photo album of grandkids to place on their coffee tables.
It was the reaction I had always dreamed about getting when our turn at this came. We are so thankful for the support of our family and friends. It just makes this time in our lives that much more special!