Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Lesson in Patience

We started co-sleeping with our daughter as soon as she was born. It was odd for us to think about her going from my womb to a plastic tote in the hospital or to a crib at home. I believe that a child belongs in the arms of it's mother. 

There were many people who were appalled by our decision. A child needs it's own space. Co-sleeping is dangerous and we were putting our child at risk. A child sleeping in our bed would ruin the sanctity of our marriage and create space between us. We were also told that once we put a child in our bed, we'd never get them out. 

I was never worried about our children leaving our bed. I knew the time would come and have enjoyed sharing that kind of intimacy with my children. Co-sleeping is a lesson in patience. I am not in a hurry for my children to grow up, nor am I in a hurry for them to sleep apart from me. I have been and am confident that when they need their own space, they'll tell me. 

Maeve has spoken. Her brothers were starting to bother her and she is such a wild sleeper that it wasn't possible to put Oren anywhere near her. I nudged her a bit by bringing up the idea of moving her bed into her room. She agreed. I made it exciting and positive. The first night she fell asleep on the couch, but then slept in her room until morning. I was not surprised. She was ready. 

The second night Maeve was not comfortable in her own bed. She slept in ours. That's okay because I knew she needed to feel like she was still part of us. She needed a little reassurance and I could see her battling wanting to be "big" and wanting to still be part of something she has known since birth. 

Tonight she is in her own bed. She was anxious, hesitant and a little scared. I sat with her and calmed her fears. It is truly beautiful to watch my child grow as a person. She is strong, brave, determined and such a lovely little girl. I am blessed and thankful to have been given the opportunity to be her mother. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do You Know How to Spell?

My bedtime conversation with Finn:

Finn: Do you know how to spell Finn? F-I-N-N Finn.
Me : Good job spelling. Now go to sleep.
Finn: Do you know how to spell wall? M-O-O-O wall.
Me: Finn, please go to sleep.
Finn: Do you know how to spell rocking chair? M-O-O-O rocking chair.

He continued spelling "gates", "curtains", "that" and "covers" and laughed hysterically after spelling each one like M-O-O-O.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Typical Day

Do you ever wonder what it's like with three kids? Here's a glimpse into a typical day...

6 am: Oren starts to stir and I try my hardest to ignore him
6:30 am: Oren says good morning by pooping. I run downstairs to get a diaper and by the time I get back to him, poop has leaked out of his very full diaper and onto my bed. I make a mental note to remember to bring an extra diaper upstairs to use tomorrow morning. I make this same mental note everyday and never remember. Motherhood has ruined my short term memory.
6:40 am: Diaper is changed and poop has been covered up with a towel. We are still in bed and Oren is nursing back to sleep and I am foolishly hopeful that I, too, will go back to sleep.
6:41 am: Finn starts whining.
6:42 am: Mathew's alarm goes off, but he doesn't hear it. Finn hears it and is fully awake.
6:43 am: Maeve is stirring and accidentally kicks me in the face.
6:45 am: We're up. Finn is screaming because there was a dirty diaper on the stairs that I kicked to the bottom. He wanted to kick it.
7 am: I'm reading books while we all eat breakfast.
7:03 am: Finn is screaming again because he spilled his cereal milk all over his shirt. He stomps upstairs to change
7:10 am: Finn is downstairs and dressed. I remind him to take off his diaper so I can put a clean one on his bum. I have to remind him several more times before he actually does it.
7:12 am: Animals are fed, dishwasher unloaded, laundry started, Oren is getting sleepy and the oldest two are watching Word World so I can have a bit of peace first thing in the morning
7:30 am: We do some sort of learning
9:30 am: We are getting ready to run errands. The following phrases are spoken,
"AHHHHH...Bridget ate my toast!!!!"
"Finn take your diaper off and go get a new one. Finn, did you hear me?"
"Maeve, please go in and go potty. Don't forget to wipe this time."
"Did you really pee that fast? Did you wipe? Get back in there."
"Bridget stop drinking out of the toilet."
"I need a snack"
"Did you take off your diaper and get a new one?"
"No. I need a snack."
"You can pick something out when you have on a clean diaper."
"Mom, can I have some milk?"
"Maeve, you didn't finish your milk from breakfast. Please close the fridge and go get your shoes on."
"Finn, where are your shoes?"
"I can't find my SHOES!"
"Maeve there's snow on the ground. You are not leaving the house in flip flops."
10:15 am: We are ready to leave, but only after I run back into the house twice to get things that I forgot.

I won't torture you by writing out the details of an entire day. The kids definitely keep me on my toes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going to the Chapel

This is Maeve's wedding dress. She wears it whenever it's time to marry her brother. Finn hates the ceremony because Maeve holds his shoulders while facing him and sings her I love you song. It takes about 30 seconds and fills Finn to the core with cooties.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Tree

Prior to having children, I never would have agreed to rainbow lights on the tree. 

I think five ornaments were broken while we decorated.

And then the tree fell over.

Four times.

But look at those lovely rainbow lights.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Stockings Were Hung by the Kennel with Care

Almost as good as a fire place, right?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pieces of Home

This little gnome keeps me company while I do dishes. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pieces of Home

An apple pie set by the window to cool and a pair of Korean wedding ducks. I love celedon pottery and have a lot of it that I will put out as soon as I know it won't get broken.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I am Dum

Maeve got in trouble for something and was sent to her room upstairs. When she came down, she told me that she wrote a sweet note for me on her magna-doodle. 

This is her sweet message. 

I laughed until I cried. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Wish List Meme

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year? 
--I am hoping that my dear husband will take my thumb ring somewhere to be fixed
--gift cards
--more fruit trees, although those will probably  have to wait until spring

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
My grandpa made me a doll bed and my grandma made a quilt for the bedding. I wish I still had it. I also wish I had one of my grandma's quilts, but I'm not sure what happened to them after she passed away.

3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle? 
I really want to make quiet books for the kids. I've been gathering felt, but I still need to find time to go them. 

4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child? 
The most memorable Christmas gift was when I thought I was getting a horse. I was so excited to open what I thought was a saddle under the tree. Nope. I it was a lousy computer. It was actually a very nice computer, but I was slightly disappointed because a horse would have been fabulous.

5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year? 
Maeve wants pretty things. She has also requested more skirts and has several different costumes (rabbit, Christmas tree and Rudolph) she wants me to sew. Finn said he wants a baby, but I consider that request fulfilled. Oren just wants breastmilk.

6. What is your favorite holiday food? 
I like all of the little sweet treats my mother-in-law makes. Chocolate covered pretzels and round pretzels with a slightly melted rolo in the middle are my favorites. I also like the Italian cookies my mom makes because they remind me of my Sicilian great grandmother. 

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays? 
Skirts, golf tees/flags, a couple of kid games, crowns, baby rings, a dress or two and car seat ponchos (I did say "poncho" and am hoping they make getting the kids in and out of their car seats easier this winter). There are lots of other things on my list, but there are some I can't remember and some I can't share.

8. What is your favorite holiday movie? 
Christmas Vacation

9. Favorite holiday song? 
I love "O Holy Night". It makes me want to go to midnight mass at a church I attended when I was younger.

10. Favorite holiday pastime?
I love everything about Christmas. I especially love celebrating Christmas now that I have kids. Seeing the joy in their faces as we decorate the house and the tree makes me grateful for such a beautiful life. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Goals

Honestly, I have  no idea what my goals were for November and am too lazy to look. I think exercising was one of them. Ha! That one didn't work out so well. 

So what do I want for December?
-stop procrastinating Christmas presents
-figure out sleeping arrangements so I can...
-start putting Oren down in the evenings. Yes, literally. Mathew puts the older kids to bed while I go downstairs to nurse Oren to sleep. The problem with this is that once I sit down, I don't get up. I actually don't mind holding Oren while he sleeps, but I would like to start sewing again and exercising (yes, I said it again...I really do want to exercise, but finding motivation is difficult when I'm up at 6 am) in the evenings. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This is my kitchen window. I love all of the light that it brings in, but I need to do something for privacy. I found fabric that I adore, however I'm having a difficult time figuring out what to do. If I make roman shades and hang them on the individual windows, I won't be able to reach the cord to open the shades....yes, I am that short. If I make curtains to cover the whole window, they'll be too close to the sink and get dirty. 


Everyday Deserves a Party

Maeve decided on a whim that we needed to have a party. She and Daddy made a cake and I helped with the frosting. Maeve was so excited and couldn't wait to eat her glorious cake.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life Update

I am a list person and have several different lists going this time of the year. Here's what we've been doing:

collecting fabric for gifts
attempting to find the perfect winter hat for Oren
sewing the perfect winter hat for Oren (it took three attempts)
gathering supplies for our montessori inspired "class room"
Thanksgiving crafting
Christmas crafting
trying to convince Finn that he really does want to pee in the toilet
resigning myself to the fact that I will live in chaos until the kids are out of the house
loving the chaos...most days

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beach Bound

45 degrees doesn't stop my kids from wearing their swimming gear. They pretended to swim for at least an hour and Maeve asked at least a dozen times to go to our community pool. Umm...no.

Monday, November 2, 2009

10 Weeks

Oren is doing really well. He weighed a little over 13 lbs at his two month well baby visit and was around 23 inches long. Sadly, I was too busy keeping the other kids from destroying the doctor's exam room to really pay attention. And if you don't already think I'm a terrible mother, I'm not even sure if he's 10 weeks old. At least I love them all the same. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monthly Goals: November

I did okay with October's goals. I struggled keeping a regular routine and planning crafts for the kids because we all kept getting sick. I did plan our meals which helped tremendously. I also did a good job meeting my exercise goal. The master Christmas list was never made, but I received a couple of really neat sewing books for my birthday so I'm inspired to create and get busy. 

November Goals:
-Get into a better routine
-Continue to work on learning activities and crafts
-Exercise three times a week for 20 min
-Work with the kids on more frequent hand washing
-Get at least one present sewn or created per week
-Keep up with my cleaning chart

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smile Please!

This is what happened when I told each of them to smile. Stinkers.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Craft, Take 3

I had a leftover piece of coroplast from building the rabbit cage so we put it to good use. First, I traced Maeve's body. Then she drew her face and decorated her body with flowers. The following day we filled in her body with laminated skeleton pieces. It was fun and both kids enjoyed feeling their bones and figuring out where they were in relation to what they were seeing. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Craft, Take 2

I thought the kids would have fun decorating felt pumpkins. I cut out all sorts of shapes and faces. Finn never touched his felt pumpkin and Maeve had fun for about three seconds. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Craft, Take 1

We made these ghosts to represent everyone in our family. From left to right: Finn, Oren, Daddy, Maeve and Mama. Maeve hates my ghost because it doesn't have a smile. 

If anyone is interested in re-creating these, I used the following materials: 
*Wooden balls
*Wooden dowels
*Orange pipe cleaners
*White pillow case
*Piece of styrofoam for the base

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Defrosting the Freezer

There are many methods that can be used to defrost a freezer. The simplest method, of course, is to unplug the freezer, empty it and leave the door open. We don't do simple.

Mathew decided to speed up the defrosting process by using the heat lamp and propane tank method. Mathew hooked the heat lamp to the tank and set them in front of the freezer. When he turned it on, flames were coming out of the heat lamp so he turned down the tank. Except the tank didn't turned down. In fact, everything burst into flames. 

Mathew grabbed the flaming propane tank and heat lamp and threw it out the side garage door into the yard. He ran and grabbed the kids and dog and we all went around the house to the front door. I've never seen Mathew run so fast. Several years ago, we were in bed and noticed that our night stand was on fire. It was not a big deal to either of us and we just did what needed to be done to put out the fire. This, however, was not the case with the propane tank. 

Mathew called 911 and within minutes two police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance were all at our house. The fire was safely put out and the propane tank didn't explode. It was a good day.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Finn read his first word! He was looking at a pamphlet in the doctor's office and I heard him say "G-out. G-O-U-T. Gout" 

Finnegan knows all of his letters and their sounds. He can count to 20 without skipping numbers. He's not at all interested in writing, but absorbs everything he sees and hears. It's funny because he and Maeve are at about the same sound/letter recognition level, but Maeve is showing an interest in writing words she sees and spelling everything she hears.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Baby Got Back

According to the Wii Fit, I currently weigh 162. It usually takes me 9-12 months to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I have a feeling that I'm going to need to work a little harder this time to get the weight off. Oren gave me two stretch marks and my belly is squishy. I have a muffin top when I wear certain sweat pants, I can feel back fat and my hips are so wide I don't even fit into the fat jeans I bought after Finn was born. My thighs touch. A lot. Yeah, it's awesome.

130 seems very far away, but I am certain I will get there. Fortunately for now, my lovely new body can be hidden under sweat shirts and my adorable 15 lb son.

Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Weeks

The Rabbits

We acquired two more rabbits last weekend. From left to right: Max, Heart Scary Witch and Rainbow Kicking Jack-O-Lantern.

I made a rabbit cage for the new buns. It has three levels and they seem to really like it. It's not quite done, but close enough.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Learning Links

I have bookmarked quite a few learning sites and thought I'd be nice and share a few of them. 














Monthly Goals: October

In an effort to keep myself organized, I'm going to start making monthly goals and posting them here. 

1. Create and stick to a routine. Simple enough, right??
Let out dog
Books and breakfast with the kids
Clean rabbit cages and feed them
Feed dog
Computer time while I do laundry or dishes
Active play/errands or fun craft
Dinner prep
2. Have one craft or new activity for the book shelf planned daily (minus weekends)
3. Plan meals again
4. Exercise two nights a week. I know this isn't much, but my dear Oren still prefers being held over sleeping anywhere else.
5. Create master Christmas list and start gathering supplies

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm Not Just a Mom

Mathew and I were watching tv last night and they were talking about mothers. A comment was made that when stay at home moms are asked what they do, their response is "I'm just a mom." The host went on to say how mothers are so much more than "just a mom" and how important mothers are to our country. 

Not once since I've been at home with my children have I thought of myself as "just a mom". I think mothering is one of the most important things I will do in my life time. Perhaps if more mothers were as passionate about their families, the world would be a better place.

NICU Visit

I want to write about Oren's stay in the NICU, but am having trouble finding the words. I have never experienced something so incredibly emotional and gut wrenching. 

When Oren was just six days old, he was admitted to the NICU due to severe jaundice. I took him to his pediatrician that morning because I thought he looked yellow. Jokes were made about him being our pumpkin baby, but no one was concerned because he was responsive, easily aroused, eating and pooping. Oren was born a good sleeper (and at six weeks still sleeps 19 out of 24 hours), so I didn't notice him sleeping more than usual. I was told to take him to the hospital for a blood draw to check his bilirubin level. 

When I got home from the hospital, I was happier than I had been in a long time. Maeve and Finn were delighted to see me and I was looking forward to be alone for the first time with my three kids. That's when I got the call. Oren's bilirubin level was 26 and we were to head to the hospital immediately. 

The ER pediatrician thought that the blood draw was not taken properly because Oren showed no signs of severe jaundice, other than being yellow. Another blood draw was done and his bilirubin level was 30. At 30 babies are usually comatose. Anything above 25 can result in brain damage and requires a blood transfusion. I had gone from being completely elated to absolutely devastated. 

IV fluids were started and we were taken to the NICU where the doctor and nurses immediately started prepping for a blood transfusion. We signed some papers and were sent out of the room so that the lines for the transfusion could be put in his belly button. Fortunately, his cord was too old and the doctor couldn't get the lines in. They had done another bilirubin check and is was down to 25 so he was able to avoid a transfusion. Oren was blindfolded, put in a crib under four lights and was not able to breastfed. 

Everything I was as a mother was taken away and I ached to hold my other two children. I am a mother who sleeps with my children, loves breastfeeding and wears my babies during the day. In the blink of an eye, all of that was gone. My six day old child could exist without me. It was heart breaking and I still tear up thinking about it. 

Almost two days after being admitted, a nurse was changing Oren's bedding and asked me if I wanted to see him. She was the first nurse who used Oren's name and treated me like a mother. She turned off his lights and took off his blindfold. It was such a gift to be able to see my baby again. Several hours later, I was able to start breastfeeding and I can't even begin to describe the joy I felt holding him in my arms. His smell, his touch, his breath...

Oren was given a urinary tract infection by the hospital when they inserted a catheter into his penis. Because of that, we were forced to stay seven days until all of antibiotics were finished. The days and nights were long and I was alone most of the time. I was grateful for good nurses, phone calls and visitors. Mathew brought the kids up every night so that we could eat dinner together. I went home a few times, but toward the end of the week, it got harder to leave Oren because he was breastfeeding again and just wanted to be held. 

The day before we left it was discovered that a cyst on Oren's adrenal glad had hemorrhaged. The cyst was one of many factors that contributed to his high bilirubin level. Oren's level was at nine at the time of discharge.

Life is normal now and I am thankful to have all three of my babies together again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One Month

Oren is one month old already. When I have two hands free I will write about his week long stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. Until then, here's a picture of my beautiful boy sleeping in his favorite spot.

I'm a Model, You Know What I Mean...

Unfortunately, Oren's thighs have outgrown both covers and his belly has outgrown all of the newborn fitted diapers I made for him.

If anyone is curious, Oren's wearing small Fuzzi Bunz, small Swaddlebees and chubby medium Snap-EZ. All are pocket diapers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oren's Birth Story

I woke up to contractions very early on Saturday, August 22nd. The contractions were 8-10 minutes apart and would be consistent for a few hours and then stop. Walking would increase the duration and frequency of the contractions, but the contractions would stop when I stopped walking.

I called my midwife around noon and asked her for advice. I told her that I was uncomfortable and tired of being pregnant so she said to go to the hospital, get checked in and she'd break my water. I had really wanted to go into labor this time around completely on my own, but it was difficult to put my life on hold in the hope that I'd go into labor.

Our great nurse, Ann, checked us in, placed my saline lock and started prepping the room for labor and delivery. We walked the halls a bit and my midwife came in and broke my water at 1:45 pm. I dilated immediately to 4 cm and we went back to walking the halls. I quickly realized that all of the somewhat painful contractions I had been having paled in comparison to what I started to experience.

We went back to the birthing room and I sat on a birth ball. I was able to manage my contractions very well while sitting on the ball and it provided some much needed rest for my tired legs. I labored on the ball most of the time and when my contractions started increasing in intensity, around 4 pm, I had Laura, my midwife, check me. 6 cm. My initial thought was "you've got to be kidding me". My body had been working so hard and the contractions were so intense that I was really hoping for a higher number.

So I changed positions. I knelt on the back of the elevated bed with my arms on top of pillows. Mathew and Laura were wonderful at rubbing my back and keeping me calm and focused. I was amazed at how vocal I was this time around. I gave every contraction a sound and apologized for being so annoying. I also labored with my eyes closed. I asked Laura if she thought I was in transition since my contractions were so close and so very painful. I didn't know it at the time, but only 3o minutes had passed from the time she checked me to when I started pushing. Funny because it seemed like an eternity.

I got into position to push and remember telling Laura at some point that I was not going to be able to do it. Her response was "good, that means you're almost done". I pushed for 25 minutes. Oren, like his big brother, was turned the wrong way so pushing was a bit difficult. I think I pushed through a series of maybe four or five contractions. Laura said she had to tug a bit to get him out since he was big. Oren's head and eyes were bruised, but he was perfect in every other way.

Unfortunately, I did have another post partum hemorrhage. My midwife and nurse did a wonderful job controlling the bleeding and all of the drugs that were needed were on hand and used immediately. The saline lock was useless because it popped out while I was pushing so the nurse had to stab me again to get the pitocin going. I had two shots in my legs, a couple of stitches and I was good to go.


Born on August 22nd at 4:55 pm. 8 lbs 5 ozand 20 inches long

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Inevitable

I am 60% effaced and 2 cm dilated. 

The thing about labor is that once it starts, I have to see it through to the end. I don't get to say half way through "just kidding, lets take a break and start up again tomorrow". It's one of the most difficult and rewarding things I've done in my life. 

As I was sitting through a very noticeable and uncomfortable contraction, it occurred to me that perhaps being pregnant for another two weeks isn't such a terrible idea. Unfortunately, I don't have much of a say. I really am ready, but it's always mind boggling when I discover that my body is actually doing something.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Life Update

I've been a lazy blogger lately because I'm busy nesting. Everything is in order and ready for baby. I'd like to get a few pairs of 3-6 month pants made before he arrives, but I'm sewing more diapers for my lovely nephew so that might not happen. I am 38 weeks today and will find out tomorrow if I'm dilated or effaced. I was going to wait another week to be checked, but he's dropped significantly so I'm curious.

I have Christmas lists made for the kids and if anyone is interested, here's my list in progress:

-felt food

-sweater balls
-felt food
-ping pong paddles and balls (he loves ping pong and I found these for cheap at a garage sale)
-electronic bowling game (another terrific garage sale find that he will love)
-clothes of some sort, although I haven't decided what to make for him

Baby Boy:
-sweater ball
-cloth shoes (perhaps)

I'm sure I'll change my list a dozen times before Christmas, but this at least gives me a place to start. Nothing is too time consuming and all of it looks fun to make. I'm certain we have plenty of wood for blocks, but I'll have to get Mathew to cut the wood since I haven't made friends with any power tools yet. I tend to get really excited for Christmas and have a tendency to go a bit crazy with the kids, but I was able to control myself last year so I'm hopeful again for this Christmas. Thankfully, my kids love handmade stuff.

I attempted to make cloth breast pads last week and failed miserably. I did an outer layer of PUL (polyurethane laminate, the water proof fabric used in diapers), two layers of flannel and an inner layer of minke. The pads were either too pointy for my liking or too crumply and noticeable under my clothes. I bought some cloth pads from Target and even though those are flat, they barely show under my shirt. Whatever. My failed attempt was cancelled out by the success I had making a new bumper and sheet set for my moses basket. So there. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Homemade Christmas

I mentioned awhile ago that I am making all of the Christmas presents this year. I really should get started since my life will become a bit busier shortly, but I am a procrastinator and have been taking a break from sewing. Here are some sites that give lots of ideas if you also plan to make gifts:

DIY Gifts for Kids: Everything you could possibly imagine and then some

Another one that is mostly kid oriented, but does have quite a few adult ideas

More ideas or I accidentally bookmarked the same thread twice

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maeve's Parenting Guide

At bedtime tonight, Maeve was reading us a parenting book she found on the floor. She covered very important topics like hitting, boxing people down, jumping over people and running into people. Basically, if you do anything of those things, you might be sent to your room for the day, taken to the doctor or taken to the hospital. 

The funniest part is that while she was preaching all of the dangers of things she does daily, Finnegan was slamming his body into hers and saying "oops, sorry". She finally interrupted his rough housing and calmly explained that if he continued to run into her or jump over her that he would fall off the bed and end up in the hospital. 

Halloween in July

We had a Halloween party on Monday. Yes, that is correct, Halloween. 

Maeve decided during her quiet time on Monday that it was the perfect day for Halloween. She requested that all of the decorations be put up and planned what costumes we were all going to wear. She originally wanted to invite everyone she knows, but when I explained that we wouldn't be able to have the party that night, she changed her mind and said it should just be our family.

Maeve drew pictures of incredibly scary pumpkins, hung decorations on the walls, strategically placed all of our spooky light up decorations and did it all while wearing her jack-o-lantern sweat suit. We bought red juice to have with dinner, I made spinach spaghetti (I didn't want anything too gross looking for fear that the kids wouldn't eat it) and we carved a watermelon brain. I also made a round zucchini cake that we were going to decorate as a pumpkin, but Maeve lost the black icing and I ran out of red food coloring so the frosting was more yellow than orange.

Finnegan and I were ghosts, Maeve was a jack-o-lantern, Brigdet, our black lab, was a black cat and our rabbit was an evil rabbit. Maeve had a vampire cape ready for Mathew to wear when he got home from work. Maeve was so proud of her decorating and Halloween party. Throughout dinner she turned to Mathew several times and said, "Don't you just love all of our spooky Halloween decorations?".

I love being able to indulge Maeve's creativity. Yes, it was more work for me that I hadn't planned on, but she was so happy and is there anything better than Halloween in July?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Life With a Newborn

I am not a baby person. 

You will never see me make a big fuss over a baby that isn't mine and chances are I will never ask to hold it. I am awkward with other people's newborns and get a bit nervous when I'm left alone with one. 

That being said, I love my newborns. I love the way they smell. I love their grunts. I love their tiny diapers and I love breastfeeding, even if it's all I do some days. My mom claws tend to come out shortly after birth and I become very protective and feel a deep need to be alone with my husband and children. I make people wash their hands before touching my baby and if my baby makes even a peep while being held by someone else, I take them back. You will never see me handing my fussy child over to someone else for soothing. That's my job.

My husband and I were talking today about how we take care of our newborn babes. Granted, there are tough days when our baby is fussy, tired, cranky, gassy, etc, but for the most part, our newborns are usually content. I nurse on demand, which means I breastfeed anytime the baby is rooting or needing to be soothed. Yes, it can be tiring, but it makes life so much easier to just nurse a fussy baby instead of trying to come up with creative ways to make it happy. We co-sleep so I am able to tuck the baby in the crook of my arm while we sleep and breastfeed whenever the baby starts to wake. I enjoy sleeping and co-sleeping is the only way we all stay rested.  I also believe in babywearing. I think I wore Finnegan everyday until he was around six months old. Babywearing kept him close and gave me the opportunity to easily do things around the house. 

I am thankful to have a husband who shares my parenting philosophies and who is completely supportive when it comes to taking care of a newborn the way nature intended instead of what is more readily accepted by our society. 

I am excited to add a third child to our family. I think transitioning from two to three will be much easier for me than it was to go from one to two kids. Sleep deprivation for the first month or two will make life interesting, but once we fall into a routine it shouldn't be too tough. Maeve and Finnegan will be great siblings if they can overcome the temptation to box down their new baby brother. Time will tell. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Song for a Fifth Child

This is one of my favorites and helps me keep things in perspective.

Song for a Fifth Child


Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth

empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.


Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due

(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew

and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo

but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).


The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.


 by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton  

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bare Books

These look like lots of fun and will probably be the only non-homemade gift from us to the kids. I think I might order the plain game board too.

Fats and Oils

Here is a good explanation of fats and how to use them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Wheels are Turning

I really enjoy sewing and have been having fun making cloth diapers. So....

I need to read more about all of the new laws regarding products for children to see if starting a business is really something I want to do. I am getting excited thinking about it, but I get excited thinking about a lot of things and then reality sets in and I get completely overwhelmed. Obviously, I'd start small. 

Here's my to do list:
-draft a few more diaper patterns
-figure out what I want to sell (probably pocket diapers and fitteds since that's what I like)
-learn how to use my serger
-figure out start up costs and rules/regulations
-drool over all of the fabric that might someday be in my stash

In the meantime, I'm busy sewing Boppy covers and a few cloth diaper covers, making play felt food and putting together various pretend play kits (doctor, lunch, etc.) for the kids for Christmas. Yes, I wrote Christmas. We are doing an entirely homemade Christmas this year so I need to start early. I also want to figure out some neat woodworking projects for my husband that would use up some of the wood we've been storing in the garage for a couple of years. 

Friday, July 3, 2009

Baby Magazine Blunders

I signed up for a free subscription to American Baby magazine. I typically disagree with many things in mainstream magazines, but there were two things in the latest issue that were particularly bothersome.

The first, "Should you circumcise? If you're on the fence, it may help to know that 79 percent of newborns boys are circumcised in the U. S., and they have a lower risk of developing urinary tract infections in their first year and STDs later in life."

Interesting that they conveniently omitted the current policy of American Academy of Pediatrics, 
"Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well- being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child."

I'm too lazy this evening to find more links and articles against circumcision, but it seems that the magazine, at the very least, should have mentioned that circumcision is not medically necessary. It's also declining in popularity and urinary tract infections are uncommon as it is so having a lower risk really doesn't matter too much. As for STDs, cover it up. 

The second thing in magazine that irks me is this "Experts recommend breastfeeding through at least 6 months." That statement is technically correct, but they neglected to mention that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends "Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child." The World Health Organization says,  "Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond."

If a magazine is going to quote experts, the very least it could do is quote them correctly. Yes, experts recommend breastfeeding through at least six months, but they recommend exclusively breastfeeding for six months. Exclusive, as in no cereal or baby foods. 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wool Longies

I have been wanting to make wool longies for awhile, but never remember to look at sweaters when we're out and about. I found a nice wool sweater for 50 cents at a garage sale today and turned it into these.

I am kicking myself for not looking for more wool sweaters, but the kids were getting impatient with me since there were no toys at the garage sale. 

If I can find more cheap sweaters, I think I'd like to make a quilt from them. I've never made a quilt and am not certain I even have the patience for one, but the end product would be soft, warm and inexpensive. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Funny Observation

When I had one child, I was very busy, but the house was seldom clean, many things I cooked were not from scratch and I didn't have any time to devote to yard work or gardening. 

Now that I have two, I am still very busy, but the house is usually put together, most of what I make is from scratch, we have a huge garden and I feel lost if I don't have any major projects to occupy my time in the evenings. 

It seems to make sense then, that when baby #3 gets here, my house will be immaculate, I will be better than Betty Crocker and I will be selling the things I craft . Right?

Celebrating Summer

31 Weeks

Believe it or not, I will get bigger. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I finally finished all 54 diapers and two covers. 32 of the diapers were for others and the rest have been added to my stash. I feel sort of liberated now that I'm done and have been going crazy with other crafting. 

Last night I made the kids crayon and notebook holders out of felt. Maeve will hate the one for her because it's black and pink and not green and blue. Finn will eat the crayons. They're cute though and will be good for the diaper bag and outings. 

I've also been making felt food. My kids certainly don't need anymore pretend food, but I want to have little prizes for them when their brother is born. I made chocolate chip cookies, heart shaped sugar cookies, cheese slices and my most favorite is similar to this except my cookies are pumpkin shaped. I'd also like to make crackers, ravioli, chips in a bag and possibly lollipops if I can figure them out. 

I've been making beads too. They take a bit of time, but look neat when finished and I won't feel completely terrible when Finn eats one. I'd like to make a big bowl full of beads for sensory play and so that Maeve can make necklaces and bracelets. This is where I got my inspiration. 

I'm also in the process of printing off worksheets, games and activities for the kids. Maeve goes through spurts where she loves worksheets so I've been sorting them by subject/content and putting them in file folders. There are a couple of sites that offer sample worksheets from their workbooks and also sample games. It takes a bit of digging, but the worksheets are nice and the games are simple and colorful. Here is one site and I can't remember the name of the other site and am too lazy to find the catalog. 

There will probably be several other projects in the next nine weeks. At some point, I should pack the hospital bags and start making freezer meals for when the grandparents are with the kids and for when we get home. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finished Projects

Baby Boy's name will be on the left of the curtain and will match Finn's name. 

Maeve put all of her flower and butterfly stickers on the wall. She did a great job, although you can't see details in the pictures. She has also finally agreed to let me make her curtains match so the polka dots will be going away.

Also, if you've noticed the lack of beds, I assure you that we do not make the children sleep on the floor. They both still sleep with us and will move whenever one of us is ready for change.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interesting Reads

I found this and completely agree:

The same doctor also wrote the following, but my husband edited for clarity and grammar.

The normal newborn and why breast milk is not just food

Ah, yes...

I have often told people that I have a twisted view of parenting.
Well, here it is, in all its glory.

What is a normal term human infant supposed to do?

First of all, a human baby is supposed to be born vaginally.  Yes, I
know that doesn't always happen, but we're just going to talk ideal,
normal circumstance for now.  We are supposed to be born vaginally
because we need good bacteria.  Human babies are sterile, without
bacteria, at birth.  It's no accident that we are born near the anus,
an area that has lots of bacteria, most of which are good and
necessary for normal gut health and development of the immune system.
And the bacteria that are there are mom's bacteria, bacteria that she
can provide antibodies against if the bacteria there aren't nice.

Then the baby is born and is supposed to go to mom.  Right to her
chest.  The chest, right in between the breasts is the natural habitat
of the newborn baby.  Our cardiac output, which is how much blood we
circulate in a given minute, is distributed to places that are
important.  Lots goes to the kidneys every minute, about 10% or so,
and 20% goes to your brain.  In a new mom, 23% goes to her chest -
more than to her brain.  The body thinks that place is important, and
rightfully so.

The chest area gives heat.  The baby has been using mom's body for
temperature regulation for nine months.  Why would they stop now, and
what other option do they have?  With all that blood flow, it's going
to be warm.  The baby can use mom to get warm.  When I was in my
residency, we would put a cold baby "under the warmer" which meant a
heater thingy next to mom.  Now, if a baby is "under the warmer," the
kid feels as if it is under the mom.  I wouldn't like that.  I like
the kids on top of mom, snuggled.

Now we have a brand new baby on the warmer.  That child is not hungry.
Bringing a hungry baby into the world is a bad plan.  And really, if
they were hungry, can you please explain to me why my kids sucked the
life force out of me in those last few weeks of pregnancy?  They
better have been getting food, or that would have been annoying and
painful for nothing.

Every species has instinctual behaviors that allow the little ones to
grow up to be big ones and keep the species going.  Our kids are born
into the world needing protection.  Protection from disease and from
predators.  Yes, predators.  Our kids don't know they've been born
into a loving family in the 21st century - for all they know it's the
2nd century and they are in a cave surrounded by tigers.  Our
instinctive behaviors as baby humans need to help us stay protected.
Babies get both disease protection and tiger protection from being on
mom's chest.  Presumably, we gave the baby some good bacteria when
they arrived through the birth canal.  That's the first step in
disease protection.  The next step is getting colostrum.

A newborn baby on mom's chest will pick their head up, lick their
hands, maybe nuzzle mom, and start to slide towards the breast.  The
kids have a preference for contrasts between light and dark, and for
circles over other shapes.  Think about that.  There's a dark circle
not too far away.

Mom's sweat smells like amniotic fluid, and that smell is on the
child's hands (because there's been no bath yet) and the baby uses
that taste on their hands to follow mom's smell.  The secretions
coming from the glands on the aureole (that dark circle) smell
familiar and help the baby get to the breast to get the colostrum
which is going to feed the good bacteria and keep the baby protected
from infection.  The kids can attach by themselves.  Watch for
yourself if you need further proof.  And if you just need colostrum to
feed bacteria and not yourself, well, there doesn't have to be much.
And there isn't much because the newborn isn't hungry and does not
need immediate sustenance.

We're talking normal babies.  Breastfeeding is normal.  It's what
babies are hardwired to do.  2009 or 209, the kids would all do the
same thing:  try to find the breast.  Breastfeeding isn't a magic
.  It's not "best".  It's normal.  Just normal.  Designed for
the needs of a vulnerable human infant.  And nothing else designed to
replace it is normal.

Colostrum also activates things in the baby's gut that then go on to
make the thymus grow.  The thymus is part of the immune system.
Growing your thymus is important.  Breast milk equals a big thymus and
therefore, a good immune system.  Colostrum also has a bunch of
something called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA).  SIgA is made in
the first few days of life and is infection protection given
specifically to the infant from mom.  Cells in mom's gut watch what is
coming through and if there's an infectious agent, a special cell in
mom's gut called a plasma cell heads to the breast and helps the
breast make SIgA in the milk to protect the baby.  If mom and baby are
together and breast feeding, then the baby is protected from what the
two of them may be exposed to.  Again, babies should be with mom.

And the tigers.  What about them?  Define "tiger" however you want.
But if you are a baby with no skills in self-protection, beyond
wanting to stay with your mother at all times - having a grasp reflex,
and a startle reflex that helps you grab onto your mom, especially if
she's hairy, makes sense.  Babies know the difference between a
bassinet and a human chest.   When infants are separated from their
mothers, they have a "despair-withdrawal" response.  The despair part
comes when they alone, separated.  The kids are vocally expressing
their desire not to be tiger food.  When they are picked up, they stop
crying.  They are protected, warm and safe.  If that despair cry is
not answered, they withdraw.  They get cold, have massive amounts of
stress hormones released, drop their heart rate and get quiet.  That's
not a good baby.  That's one who is beyond despair.  Normal babies
want to be held, all the time.

And when do tigers hunt?  At night.  It makes no sense at all for our
kids to sleep at night, or alone.  They may be eaten.  Imagine the ape
who sets a newborn baby in a nest, and then retires to another tree
for a good nights sleep.  There's nothing really all that great about
kids sleeping through the night.  They should wake up and find their
body guard.  There are not as many threats in the daytime.  They sleep
better during the day.  (Think about our response to our tigers -
sleep problems are a result of stress, depression and anxiety).

I go on and on about sleep on this site, so maybe I'll gloss over it
here.  But everybody sleeps with their kids - whether they choose to
or not and whether they admit to it or not.  It's silly of us as
health care providers to say "don't sleep with your baby" because we
all do it.  Sometimes accidentally.  Sometimes intentionally.  The
kids are snugly, it feels right and you are tired.  So, normal babies
breastfeed, stay at the breast, want to be held and sleep better when
they are with their parents.  Seems normal to me.  But there is a
difference between a normal mother and one that isn't.  Safe sleep
means that we are sober, not smoking, not on a couch or a recliner,
but in bed, breastfeeding.  Being normal.  If the circumstances are
not normal, then sleeping with the baby is not safe.

That chest to chest contact is also brain development.  Our kids have
as many brain cells as they will ever have at 28 weeks of gestation.
It's a jungle of waiting to be connected cells.  We have like 8
nipples, a tail and webbed hands in the womb.  If all goes well, we
don't have those at birth.  What we do as humans is create too much
and then get rid of what we aren't using.  So, as you are snuggling,
your child is hooking up happy brain cells and hopefully getting rid
of the "eek" brain cells.  Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, is brain
wiring.  Not just food.

Why go on and on about this?  Because more mothers are choosing to
breastfeed, and I want to encourage that.  But most women don't
believe that the body that created this beautiful baby is capable of
feeding that same child and we are supplementing more and more with
infant formulas designed to be food.  Why don't we trust our bodies
postpartum?  I don't know.  But I hear over and over that the formula
is used because "I am just not satisfying him."  Of course you are.
Babies don't need to "eat" all the time - they need to be with you all
the time - that's the ultimate satisfaction.

A baby at the breast is getting their immune system developed,
activating their thymus, staying warm, feeling safe from predators,
having normal sleep patterns and wiring their brain, and (oh by the
way) getting some food in the process.  They are not "hungry" - they
are obeying instinct.  The instinct that allows us to survive and make
more of us.