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Well, this happened. Finally.

Posted by Elisabeth on August 6, 2014 in Evelyn, family, pregnancy |

World, meet JD.

JDBlowres

He came into this world a little later than we were expecting him to. Lucky for him, this has been the most mild summer I’ve ever experienced in Texas, or else we would have had some serious problems. As it was, he kept us waiting quite a while.

41weeksLR

Here’s the pic I posted on social media to help prevent people from asking me somewhat hourly if the baby had come yet. And then he waited FOUR MORE days. 11 days late total. And boy, was that exciting when he did come. I’m still working on finding time to get all the details leading up to his labor story. When I get around to it, I will post. Fortunately, my body is not in the business of making giant babies, so despite his extra incubation period, he kept it just under 8 lbs. Thanks, little guy.

So far, he’s a huge sweetie. Pretty much a complete 180 from his older sister. Maybe his mellow personality is why he was pretty comfortable with hanging tight for that extra time. But because of that sweet, mellow personality, we’ve decided to keep him. (AS IF IT WERE AN OPTION. We would have kept him anyways, but he’s helping us out by making it much more pleasant. Keep it real.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 2.36.46 PM

Big sister is doing an amazing job overall with this huge transition. I am really proud of her. We had a -really- rough first day when it was just the three of us alone for the first time, but she genuinely loves her baby brother, gives him kisses, and stops whatever she is doing when she hears him cry to let me know that “Baby J.” needs something.

I am loving my little family and am so glad that this sweet soul has now FINALLY come to join us. The sweet moments and group cuddles make all the sleepless nights and toddler tantrums totally worth it. I wouldn’t trade these cute kids for anything!

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Simple, straight forward baby blanket.

Posted by Elisabeth on July 14, 2014 in Creative side, crochet fun, pregnancy |

Once you have one kid, it’s kind of hard to have time to make the next pregnancy just as special as the first. I had been on a mission to find a special project to devote to my new little one’s arrival, something special and “just for him” to help me have a chance to focus on THIS pregnancy a little better (or the postive parts. It’s easy to drown in all the fatigue and morning sickness and backaches, right?)

Back in March, I came across this lovely post for a baby blanket from the blog Yarnaway:

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.33.55 PM

Is that not an absolutely adorable baby blanket?!

Obviously, they learned near the end of making the blanket that it would be for a girl, so added in a hint of pink. The colors weren’t right for Baby Boy’s nursery theme (oh, and we will have to talk about that in another post soon!), but the pattern (based on this tiramisu baby blanket pattern found on Ravelry) was simple, and something that my tired brain and fingers could process doing at the end of a long day without much extra thought.

As soon as I saw these pictures and the pattern, I knew I had to make it. I went to my favorite yarn store (no, not Hobby Lobby or Michael’s- they are fine and dandy for amigurumi and short, fun projects) to find quality yarn that would be able to be washed/withstand a little bit of newborn love.

The store owner gave me a few options, but I found and felt this Berroco Weekend yarn, and it was just perfect. It’s a soft and lightweight blend of acrylic and cotton, perfect for a Texas summertime baby. Of course, the price per skein made it much more worth it, as well (just over $6/205 yards).

What I used:

  • This Tiramisu Blanket pattern
  • Trusty K 6.50mm hook (bigger than recommended by the pattern, just to get an equal stitch gauge)
  • Berroco Weekend yarn:
  • Cerulean/5942 (2 skeins),
  • Camp Stove/5958 (2 skeins)
  • yellow/5921 (1 skein- looks closer to “Curry” on the website, but there were no exact number match ups)

Stitches used:

  • chain (ch)
  • single crochet (sc)

(Seriously. That is IT. If you can chain, single crochet, and count to 91, you can do this blanket.)

For how I did the stripes, following the pattern set in the Tiramisu blanket pattern:

Ch. 91

Foundation Row: In color 1 (Cerulean) 2 sc in 3rd ch from hook. (Sk next ch, 2 sc in next ch) across to end; turn — 90 sts.

Row 2-8: Ch 1, sk first sc, 2 sc in next sc; (sk 1 sc, 2 sc in next sc) across to end; turn — 90 sts

Row 9-10: Change to Color 2 (yellow), ch1, sk first sc, 2 sc in next sc; (sk 1 sc, 2 sc in next sc) across to end; turn — 90 sts

Row 11-18: Change to Color 3 (Camp Stove), ch1, sk first sc, 2 sc in next sc; (sk 1 sc, 2 sc in next sc) across to end; turn — 90 sts

Row 19-20: Change to Color 2 (yellow), ch1, sk first sc, 2 sc in next sc; (sk 1 sc, 2 sc in next sc) across to end; turn — 90 sts

Row 21: Change to Color 1 (Cerulean), ch1, sk first sc, 2 sc in next sc; (sk 1 sc, 2 sc in next sc) across to end; turn — 90 sts

So on and so forth. It was pretty easy to count rows- basically, eight rows of Color 1 and 3 broken up by two rows of Color 2. Go on for the desired length. I’d say that Baby Boy’s blanket ended up about 27”x27” or so, but there is quite a bit of stretch in the blanket.

Rowscolorchanges

 

Anyways, it’s taken me a while to finish the project. Between caring for my energetic toddler, making some gifts for some other friends who have been expecting, and trying to get things in order for Baby Boy’s arrival,  I finally finished last night. While I know the original pattern has the lovely scalloped edges, I omitted it. As I was working the yellow to frame in the edges, I fell in love with the simplicity of the straight edge look. (My husband also said it looks more “manly”. But let’s not fool ourselves, I would have scalloped those edges if I really wanted to.)

For the record, the yellow “frame” around the blanket is just 2 rows of straight up single crochets and then fastening off and weaving the ends in- nothing fancy at all! The pattern suggests doing 88 SC down the sides (top and bottom should both be an easy 90 across to get), but since I didn’t do the scalloped edges, I just made it as even and nice looking as possible since the edge count didn’t really matter in the long run.

I felt with the strong colors of stripes already in the center, the scalloped edges would probably be too busy for the blanket, so I am quite satisfied at the end result.

BBBlanket

 

It looks like I’m not the only one. Big Sister has been taking every chance she gets to “sleep” with the new blankie- a pretty big compliment. This product is Evelyn approved!

 

2014-07-14 11.06.54

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Still waiting

Posted by Elisabeth on July 4, 2014 in anxiety, pregnancy |

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I was hoping to have better things to do than sit here and update my blog a bit, but….

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 9.54.37 PM

As you can see, somebody is still perfectly comfortable where he is. So this picture is what you get to see. Sorry.

(Okay, I took this two days ago at 39 weeks and 1 day, which was two days ago, but just imagine me two days more pregnant now. There you go.)

Still pregnant. If you ask me how I am doing, the answer will be “Pregnant.” Meaning, all those weird aches and pains and symptoms are in full force, to the point that most of my nervousness and anxiety about giving birth again and round two of a potentially very colicky and fussy baby are now overshadowed by the desire to NOT BE PREGNANT ANYMORE.

And I’m sad because again, I’m not getting my 4th of July baby I was kind of hoping for. (Wouldn’t that be totally awesome?) We’ve had the chance twice now and both times have been foiled. Guess these kids just have a mind of their own. ;)

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Mentally Preparing for Baby 2

Posted by Elisabeth on June 4, 2014 in anxiety, depression, Evelyn, medical/health, pregnancy |

I’ve been absent from writing again. It seems like now that we are about a month away from BBv2.0 time has flown too quickly, and all the things I wish were done for his preparation are nowhere near completion. It’s harder to get things accomplished when your husband has some difficult work deadlines and you have an energetic toddler that is pretty demanding of your time. And the hour or two respite I might get in the middle of the day if she takes a good nap is usually then spent by me resting so I can keep up with her antics for the rest of the day. (Curse you, third trimester insomnia and fatigue!)

Honestly, I have spent a lot of time internalizing things. Being alone with your thoughts and a toddler most days seems to do that. Some of it are logistical questions—who are we comfortable enough with to ask to watch Evelyn while her brother is being born? (Especially if it’s 3 AM and turns out to be a false alarm… Oops, sorry!) Or if it’s during the day and takes a while, who will give the doggies and chickies some extra TLC?

A lot of the questions are the What Ifs.

There is so much I wish I could change about Evelyn’s birth. The longer I have had to think about that experience, the angrier I become with that doctor and hospital. ANGRY. They broke my trust in so many ways. I thought I was covered with a birth plan. I thought I was safer because I had a doula. Truth is, I should have stood up for myself more, and I didn’t think I could. I did in many important ways; at least I was well-read, and had good techniques, and was able to be coherent enough to recognize certain signs, but it wasn’t enough. I trusted the doctor, nurses, hospital to treat me and my family in our best interest and health, but I think my doctor was hoping for a better payout from us (C-Section), and some of the nurses were truly awful.

And there was so much I didn’t realize! Like the fact that using pictocin made it so I had to be on an IV and have continuous monitoring. (That didn’t work well; it rarely caught a contraction, and if I moved at all, as one would expect to do to try and find comfort from a contraction, it was harder to monitor Evelyn. Then they started to give me a hard time on that when really, she was just moving around as I was trying to do and the monitors were worthless.) Did you know your water breaks, you can actually still some time without labor starting; days, even, especially when you don’t have GBS. Yet that 24 hour limit has caused problems for numerous people. And I still remember Evelyn’s little heels, bloodied from all the pricks to check her blood sugar. We had to argue with the nurses and doctors that it was their imposed schedule (not to feed her on demand, but wait until the next text) and a bad nurse that caused her blood sugar to be so low and that if we could just feed her when she was hungry, we could keep her out of the NICU.

Less than a month ago, I came across this article on traumatic birth on one of my favorite sites. While The Leaky Boob focuses more on breastfeeding (if you couldn’t tell by the name!) , they often touch on other aspects of early motherhood too. “Traumatic Birth: Resources for Healing and Protecting Breastfeeding” resonated with me. Suddenly, much of my long recovery after Evelyn’s birth made so much more sense. It took 5-6 days before my milk actually came in. I had horrible anxiety and post-partum depression, mixed with Evelyn’s GERD and irritability, that made it months and months before I felt like I could get more than a hour or two of sleep at a time. Some of the physical healing took months, too, though I will spare you those details.

And the worst part was that I felt like I was ungrateful, that nobody would understand. I don’t think I can count how many times I heard “The most important thing is that the baby is okay.” But I  wasn’t okay for long time. (Another great post on this alone can be found here. Seriously, check it out before you say “All that matters is a healthy baby” to a new mom, especially if you don’t know if she’s struggling or not.)

We are going a completely different direction with Baby Boy’s birth, and I’m both excited and nervous, because I feel like this is still our first time. I still don’t know what it might be like to go into labor naturally, or to be able to move around more freely without being strapped to a bed, or being told that I would just have to wait for a doctor to show up before I could push because the nurses didn’t want to do the paperwork.  But I feel that at least I have a fighting chance, because I really enjoy the midwives and the birthing center that we’ve been attending for most of this pregnancy. (This time, I wasn’t afraid to “shop around”. I know some people thought I was high maintenance for looking at multiple doctors and midwives, but I wanted to make sure both Jared and I felt really comfortable with how we would all be treated through this experience.) And yes, we are very close to a hospital for transport in the unfortunate chance that there may be an emergency.

I feel much more at peace overall with this decision, whereas with my doctor around 30 weeks in I started wishing I could go elsewhere. Oh, how I wish I had.  Even with knowing this is a better decision, the anxiety and worry and unhappiness from the first time has not disappeared, and I just hope that I will be able to let go of that experience enough to make this time the best it can be.

 

If you are interested in some resources I have found helpful, I would recommend some of the following:

Fun article that I mostly agree with (feel free to ask me what I would change or asterisk): “Dear Friend, Birth Doesn’t Have To Suck”

Book: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (Skip all the happy-go-lucky stories to the second half of the book where she gets into how childbirth works and some interesting historical facts about how birth has become what it is now)

For supporting nearly all kinds of birth experiences, Birth Without Fear has a great collection of home births to cesarean sections stories and support.

For Breastfeeding: The Leaky Boob. Seriously. Ignore the name if it bothers you, but I have found some amazing things on here that have helped me so much with Evelyn.

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Review: My Bedtime Story Bible

Posted by Elisabeth on April 24, 2014 in Books, Reviews |

It’s been a while since I have done a review, hasn’t it? I recently had the opportunity to join Zonderkidz new Z Blog Squad review team, and I am so glad that I decided to! 

My first book to review was My Bedtime Story Bible. For those of you with younger kids, this is a great way to review/introduce some of the more well-known stories of the Bible in the context of a child appropriate bedtime story.

bedtimestorybible

Features:

  • Introduction features some ideas for using My Bedtime Bible Stories and personalizing the stories to make both the stories and this time spent with your child a little more meaningful.
  • 2-3 pages per story, so they aren’t too long before bed
  • 2-3 pages includes cute illustrations
  • Stories are appropriate for young children.
  • Stories focus on more peaceful, quieter moments of the scripture stories.
  • ”Tuck in” feature- at the end of each story, there is a special thought for you to discuss with your little ones or for them to think about as they fall asleep.

TuckIncollage

My Thoughts:

The illustrations are cute and well done, catching my energetic toddler’s attention for a few moments, which is quite the accomplishment. Both Evie and I have enjoyed the pictures. A lot of them feature stories in the Bible that include babies, so naturally, she loved pointing out all the little children and exclaiming, “Baby!” (Same for pictures that included various animals that she loves, like kitties, sheep, etc.)

I also love the “Tuck in” feature questions at the end of each short story. While Evelyn doesn’t quite get the questions as well now, I can see how they could be great before-bed talking points as she gets a little older. They are thoughtful and focus on child appropriate themes from these stories.

I also personally liked the introduction suggestions. Many days are long, and it’s easy to rush through to the finish line to get that much needed adult time. However, this a great reminder for me to not be distracted in those last moments before Evie goes down; it’s the last chance in the day to focus on my relationship with her and remind her how much she is loved.

And when everything is said and done, what is more important than that? :)

 

As a part of Zonderkidz new Z Blog Squad review team, I received a copy of the My Bedtime Story Bible exchange for an honest review.

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