Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shiny Happy People

Unexpected warm days in late fall + a trampoline in the back yard = happy kids.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time Warp

I have the best intentions about blogging regularly. But darn it if it isn't nearly Thanksgiving already!! I was trying to calculate the age of a friend's baby earlier today and for several minutes, thought it was still September. sigh

Most of my time is taken up with Baby Duty and school, but I'm managing to squeeze in a little time for knitting, too. People seem amazed that I have time to do it, but I do it in little spurts...a few rows while waiting for one of the kids to finish a workbook page or as I listen to Natalie read...and I can get quite a bit done in the evenings if Greg is able to take Ellie for a while. (They like to hang out together in the recliner and nap.)

Here is one of my recent quick projects. My friend Lisa mentioned she would like a pair of long fingerless gloves to wear while she paints in the winter, so I was happy to oblige. I used Caron Simply Soft Eco since she needed something that was very easy care and fine to go in the washer and dryer. The pattern is an easy spiral rib by Joelle Hoverson and can be found here.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Blissful Slumber

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ellie's Birth Story

**Disclaimer: I realize that not everyone enjoys reading birth stories and some people are uncomfortable hearing specifics about the birthing if you're not interested, don't say I didn't give you fair warning! I have tried to keep Ellie's story accurate without over-sharing. There may be a few unfamiliar terms, such as birthing time (labor) and pressure waves (contractions). I studied and used Hypnobabies, a method of hypnosis for childbirth, thus the different terms.**

Ellie's Birth

My due date was September 8, which came and went without any sign of impending labor. My first baby was induced on my due date due to extremely low amniotic fluid and my second was a c-section on my due date for no valid medical reason - so I had no point of reference for how my body might begin my birthing time naturally. At 41 weeks I asked for an internal exam - 1.5 cm, not very effaced, but my midwife said my cervix was in the perfect position for delivery and the baby's head was extremely low. In the meantime I was trying all sorts of natural induction methods, none of which produced more than a few twinges of pressure waves. Since I was a VBAC, Greg and I didn't feel comfortable going beyond 42 weeks so we agreed to go in for induction on September 22. My midwife was thrilled I was using Hypnobabies and was completely on board with only using pitocin to get pressure waves started and then let my body take over.

When we got to the hospital, we found that I hadn't dilated any more than I was at 41 wks and were also told my cervix was now extremely high and posterior, so we knew it would take a while. We agreed to the use of a foley bulb catheter to help me open up a bit more. I ended up laboring for 16 hrs on pitocin with no pain meds. Hypnobabies was GREAT! My hospital gown had a pocket on the front, so I clipped my iPod to it and kept one ear bud in the whole time to listen to the Hypnobabies scripts. Even though the pressure waves did start to get stronger and more intense, I was able to stay calm and relaxed through them. It helped, too, to think of them as "rushes" - as Ina May Gaskin calls them...I pictured myself riding on the front of a bullet train as each one propelled itself forward.

After 16 hours, I was at 6.5 cm, but the midwives had different opinions on what station the baby was at, so they broke my water, which seemed to be the start of things going off track. They wanted to do internal monitoring and had trouble getting it in. Two different midwives tried, which was extremely uncomfortable and really disrupted my focus. They had turned the pitocin down low (possibly even off? I'm not sure) since I was doing well, but then needed to turn it up again, so the pressure waves got a lot more intense again. I was stalled at 6.5 cm for a few hours and knew I was going to need an epidural to go any longer. While they worked on placing the internal monitors, the baby had a few decel's in heart rate, so that caused a lot of commotion! Even with having the Hypnobabies scripts playing and having Greg and my doula there with constant support, it was very difficult to get back to that calm and peaceful state. While I desperately wanted an unmedicated VBAC, I knew I needed an epidural in order to have the focus to keep going.

Once I got the epidural, the midwives started talking to us about considering a c-section (because the baby just wasn't descending), but there was NEVER any pressure, which we appreciated so much. We had total support in whatever we decided. It seemed like it took forever for the epidural to really kick in, but once it did, I knew it was better to go ahead with the surgery because there was no way I was going to have the energy and stamina to push for very long.

As it happened, the OR's were backed up and it took almost two hours for one to be available - so by the time they put in the catheter and started really getting ready to take me, we discovered I was fully dilated and complete! I know Greg would have liked to encourage me to try to push, but our doula helped him to understand that if I knew I didn't have it in me, his encouragement would likely only make me feel guilty - so I'm grateful she was there. Once we got into surgery, they discovered all kinds of scar tissue from my previous c-section on my bladder, so they had to spend a lot of time cleaning that up. I'm thankful to have a "reason" for the c-section...I never knew there were any issues and the scar tissue could have caused problems in the future.

Eleanor Elizabeth (Ellie) was born September 23, 2009 at 10:11 PM, weighing 9 lbs 11 oz and was 21 1/2" long. While it was not the birth experience I had hoped for, it did produce the outcome I desired: a strong, healthy, beautiful baby. I do believe we made the right decisions based on the circumstances. It was never an emergency situation and I'm thankful for that. The midwives and doctors were all wonderful, as were all the nurses I had. I am extremely thankful for Hypnobabies and how it worked for me, even in a Plan B situation. I know I have learned skills that I can continue to use well into the future.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


As you can see, I decided it was time for a face lift for the ol' blog. I'm clueless about HTML and web design, so I am forced to rely on free templates. I loved this one, but needed to edit out some text and replace it with my own. However, there was no simple editing option to do that, so I had to find a blank version of the image and do it myself in PhotoStudio. It wouldn't be a big deal to many of you, but I'm thrilled that I got it to work!

Now maybe the new look will inspire me to blog more often. In the meantime, there's a hungry baby calling me...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Long Overdue. Literally.

Pregnancy is long, folks. Forty weeks, which is in fact TEN months...not nine. My baby decided that her accommodations were quite pleasant and decided to extend her stay by another two weeks. Women should not have to be pregnant for 42 weeks. While I felt fine physically (apart from being exceedingly great with child), I was mentally and emotionally done and soon began to feel like the proverbial watched pot that never boils. I started to think I would come unhinged if one more person asked me, "Well, aren't you feeling ANY contractions yet??"

Rest assured, the appointed day did finally arrive. It didn't begin the way I had hoped (induction, rather than spontaneous labor), nor did it end the way I had hoped (c-section after 22 hours of labor, rather than a VBAC). It did, however, produce exactly what I had hoped for - a strong, healthy, beautiful baby girl. I even got the added bonus of having our first dark-haired baby! (which was a secret hope of mine)

Allow me to introduce Ellie, the newest member of our family:

Eleanor Elizabeth
9 lbs, 11 oz
21 1/2" long
Born September 23, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Just born:

The next day, meeting Natalie, Ethan and Neena (my mom):
Don't let the picture fool you. The kids weren't nearly as exuberant as this image would lead you to believe. They were a little overwhelmed with the newness of everything, but they are adjusting well now.

Rocking with Neena:
Wearing her first handknits:
Finally home:
It has only been six days, but it's already hard to imagine what life was like without her.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Food For Thought

A quote from the book Ruthless Trust, by Brennan Manning - a book that I have been trying to read for several years now (yes, YEARS).  So full of insight, but the type you need to chew on for a while...

"The great weakness in the North American church at large, and certainly in my life, is our refusal to accept our brokenness.  We hide it, evade it, gloss over it.  We grab for the cosmetic kit and put on our virtuous face to make ourselves admirable to the public.  Thus, we present to others a self that is spiritually together, superficially happy, and lacquered with a sense of self-deprecating humor that passes for humility.  The irony is that while I do not want anyone to know that I am judgmental, lazy, vulnerable, screwed up, and afraid, for fear of losing face, the face that I fear losing is the mask of the impostor, not my own!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Growing Up

Last winter we decided to get Natalie a duvet to replace the comforter that was on her bed. It was cute and she still liked it, but the seams had split in a few places and it was not a warm comforter. I bought the duvet, but had a very hard time finding a reasonably-priced twin duvet cover that Natalie liked. In fact, I looked everywhere I could think of and we were still unable to find something suitable.

Finally, I decided that if I was going to have to spend more than I really wanted to, it might as well be on something Natalie absolutely loved and would be willing to live with for quite some time. We started exploring fabric options and as soon as we saw Anna Maria Horner's Drawing Room line, Natalie knew exactly what she wanted.
We looked at several fabric options in that line, but all she wanted were the birds. Since the print is so large, I decided to just let the fabric shine on its own and use as much of the aqua version as I could as the main panel. It wasn't quite large enough, so I got the same print in cream and used that as a 5" border all the way around.
For the back, I bought a good quality flat sheet and trimmed it to fit. Since flat sheets have that nice, finished, decorative edge on the top, I decided to use that as the top part of the overlap closure. I still need to get some velcro to help keep it closed, but that can wait. Contrary to how it looks in the picture, I really did iron the sheet!
My girl is growing up. Let's just hope she likes this now that it's finished.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For Baby

When Natalie and Ethan were born, I wasn't knitting yet so I made them quilts. Now that knitting has taken over my crafty pursuits, I decided to knit something special for the new baby. Obviously, this isn't the type of thing that will be used every day like a quilt would, but it is something we can use as a special wrap when she is tiny and then it can be put away and saved until she grows up.

So here it is - the Queen Anne's Lace Shawl - started in May and finished yesterday. The next time you see it, it will be wrapped around a sweet baby girl!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Just in case you thought I hadn't been doing anything...

Of course, there are other projects currently on the needles, too. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why It's Good To Have Children

I dreaded waking up this morning because my kitchen was an absolute wreck. It looked like some scary white trash people lived here! There were dirty dishes everywhere, the counters were both cluttered AND dirty, and the floor was just disgusting. It didn't take me long to fill up the dishwasher and get it started. After that, I hand-washed everything else so it was finished. The biggest issue was the floor. I knew it needed a good old hands-and-knees scrubbing, but I was really dreading it.

Enter one happy-go-lucky 7 year old girl who just happened to be looking for something to do.


In a matter of minutes, she was convinced that not only would she like to try scrubbing the floor, but that it also sounded FUN! I'm not one to waste an opportunity like that, so I gave the floor a good sweep, got her a bucket of diluted Lysol and a sponge and showed her what to do! Of course, it didn't take long for her brother to wander in and want in on the action, too.
All things considered, they did a very nice job for their first time scrubbing a floor! I rinsed it with a mop and clean water and let it dry. There is still de-cluttering to be done and the counter tops need a good wipe-down, but at least there's a light at the end of the tunnel now.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Locks of Love

My daughter inherited my hair. It grows thick and fast. Several months ago I explained the purpose of Locks of Love to her and asked if she would be interested in letting her hair grow for a while so she could donate it. She liked the idea of being able to help another child and agreed to grow out her hair.

Now, several months later, we were both more than ready to be able to get her hair cut since it was getting ratty as soon as it was brushed. So we were very happy to learn last week that her hair was finally long enough! Today was the day of the big cut and Natalie couldn't be more pleased...nor could I.



Getting the ponytail shaved off (it was too thick to use scissors):

A typical Natalie face:

And my new, short-haired girl:

Friday, April 03, 2009

Better Vision

I have horrible eyesight, as do several members of my family. So I figured it was only a matter of time before one of my children needed glasses. As it turned out, this was the week! Natalie has never mentioned having any trouble seeing, but after the pediatrician did a vision screening on Monday, he recommended a trip to the optometrist. After a thorough eye exam, it was decided that Natalie definitely needed glasses.

We just picked them up and she seems to think they help, so that's a good start.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Have You Ever Made A Phoenix?

Well Natalie did.

For Christmas, we decided to encourage Natalie's creativity with something new and different: the LaQ Building Set. I had only seen it in the Mindware catalog, but knew it would be right up her alley. At first it was overwhelming, with so many tiny pieces...oh, and the instructions are only in Japanese. Natalie made the recommended basics like a flat strip of repeating patterns, a box and a sphere, but it took a lot of trial and error for her to begin to feel confident enough to try some of the other designs that are shown in the pamphlets. Before long, she was able to figure them out.

There was one in the pamphlet, though, that was elusive. And complicated. And she thought she could never do it.

Then, one day, she did.

I proudly present to you, Natalie's phoenix:
Here is a close-up. LaQ's are comprised of squares, triangles and various connecting pieces.
And here is what Natalie had to work from:
She's pretty amazing, I think.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Big News in a Tiny Package

I was really hoping to have a picture to share in this post, but alas, I was not given one. Part of the reason why the blog has been pretty quiet lately is because I have been exceedingly tired. Beyond tired, actually. But it is all for a good reason, though.

We're having another baby!! (See, this is where I would post an ultrasound picture, but the tech didn't offer to give me any.)

I'm due September 8, which puts me at 12 weeks now. Actually, I have known for about seven weeks already, but we waited a while to tell family and wanted to make sure everything looked good on the ultrasound yesterday. Everything did look good, and since I am 12 weeks, the baby definitely looked like a baby! There was a lot of curling up, leg stretching and flipping over, which is to be expected since there's still room to move around in there.

As for me, I am doing well. My first two pregnancies were very uneventful, with only tiredness and mild nausea at the start, and it looks like this one is following the same path so far. I am very excited to get to do some baby knitting this time! I wasn't knitting yet when I had Natalie and Ethan.

So that's the big news. Hopefully I'll work up the energy to start posting more often.

Monday, February 02, 2009

This Alone Was Worth $89.99

My kids pooled their Christmas and birthday money to buy Wii Fit last week. It is SO fun, but when I came around the corner yesterday to see Ethan doing the ski slalom like this I had to run for the camera: