Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Vacation

Today is the first day of summer vacation for us.  Liam has been out of school for about two weeks, but Lilia's final day of Kindergarten was yesterday.  I'm looking forward to summer vacation, sort of.  The weather being what it's been, I'm a little afraid it will mirror winter in there's five of us trapped in a small house, but for the most part, as long as it's warm and sunny, we have a huge yard for the kids to play in.

Mei loves books too!
Summer rules are in effect, much to Liam's chagrin.  No tv in the afternoon, until after dinner.  No reason to turn it on, there's plenty to do outside, right?

Today was fun though.  After a morning playing outside, we all went to get hot dogs from the vendor near the Herkimer Library, something my husband has done since he was a child.  Then we went to the library, even Mei.  We picked some books to bring home, (*ahem* because we lost a book last year and haven't paid the fine yet, used books they were selling...), the kids played some computer games, read a little, played games and did some puzzles.  It's something we'll probably do at least once a week.  And maybe next week, we'll walk there, instead of driving.

After the library, we went home for baby nap time, and magically (yes, I do mean it was magic...) 4 year old nap time.  Liam was laying against Daddy, and next thing we hear is *snore*.  Almost two hours of peace and quiet, and it was hard not to daydreams of a peaceful summer vacation.

Today's journal entry- Lilia haved a hot dog.
While Liam slept, Lilia and I worked on her writing.  She loves to learn so much that I decided to continue working with her on her reading and writing.  She has a little workbook, and a journal from Kindergarten, plus papers and books.  She did some worksheets, practiced writing her name and address and phone numbers, and wrote in her journal.  She was so excited to do all this.  Her favorite part was her list of words.  It's a list of 100 most frequent words in books for beginner readers, and my understanding was that her entire class was working hard at learning all these words.  We went through the first fifty, and she did pretty well, with only three or four words spelled wrong.  And I have to admit that I had a lot of fun quizzing her on those words.  It's pretty awesome to watch your child display the skills she's learned.  It amazes me how well she can read at this age.
Liam's blueberry topped pancake

After our quiet nap and study time, we decided to go out to dinner and celebrate our first day of summer vacation more.  Not the healthiest of meals, but we hit IHOP, as the kids love pancakes.  And being kids eat free night, the entire meal was less than $20 bux.  After that, a trip to the book store (the library and the book store on the same day...) where we read more books, and then headed home.  It was a perfect summer day, though it might've needed a little gardening fun.  (Dad mowed the lawn, does that count?)

Of course, I'm guessing by this week, maybe?...I'll be ready for them to go back to school.  And by September, I expect I'll be kicking them out the door.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The old bed.  I just cleaned those weeds out last week.
Probably my biggest goal, outside of not going crazy with two kids and a newborn, was starting a new garden bed, and doing something about the old beds.  My initial plan was to transform the old beds into a patio area, but that's temporarily on hold until I can afford to put some money into that project.  But I have been working on making a new garden bed just for vegetables.

One of the biggest problems with the old beds is weeds. They don't end.  The previous owners apparently planted something perennial, and it's terrible.  I could spend three days cleaning out the weeds, only to have them return.  Because of time this year, I am using some of the old beds, but intend to do one of two things this fall:  tarp them so the winterize (and hopefully kill the plants underneath) or I'm tearing them apart.  But this year we have sunflowers, peas, spinach, carrots, corn, mint and strawberries growing in the old bed.  And weeds.  Lots and lots of weeds.

The new bed
The new bed is in the middle of my lawn.  In May, I put down some black plastic down with lawn staples, and let it kill the grass.  Now, here in June, I've been removing the remaining sod, tilling and preparing the soil.  This weekend I finally got two different varieties of tomatoes in, as well as a variety of peppers.  Within the the new few weeks, I'll be putting in pumpkin, watermelon, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumber, and squash, as well as some herbs.  The bed is about 10 by 25, and I'd like to make it 20 by 25 for next year.

While I still need to get some more trellises, I'm really happy with how everything is going.  It's been a lot of hard work, particularly since many times it's get as much done in an hour that I can, so I can then shower, cool down and hydrate myself before I nurse the baby.  But so far, it's been really satisfying.
Tomatoes and Peppers
How is your gardening growing?

Friday, June 7, 2013

June Day Book


Outside my window... It is raining and a bit chilly. But my Rhododendrons are still pretty and the bumble bees are still hovering around them.

I am thinking... about how stretched I feel between three children, a husband and my own needs.

I am thankful... for my husband, who keeps me grounded.

In the kitchen... is rhubarb, waiting to be made into a pie.

I am wearing... a new teething/nursing necklace from Etsy.
I am creating... nothing at the moment, although I have four different things I want to work on.

I am going... for pizza at my father-in-law's like usual.

I am wondering... when the sun will return and if I'll get the rest of my gardening done this weekend.

I am reading... nothing.  Absolutely nothing these days.  I have no time!

I am hoping... life gets easier as the baby grows.

I am looking forward to... a baby shower this weekend!

I am learning the trials and tribulations of being the parent of three.

Around the house... is scattered toys, laundry the needs to be done, and happy kids.

I am pondering... what to do to keep the kids busy this summer.  And buying a new set of knitting needles...

A favorite quote for today... Love as thou wilt.  

One of my favorite things...'s keeping my spirits up these days.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Gardening.  Need to get the rest of my tomatoes and peppers in, as well as so many other things!

A peek into my day...
What are you doing, Mom?

Playing along with The Simple Woman's Daybook

Hoping to really and truly get back into blogging a little!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The birth of baby Mei

As I try to get back into the swing of things, I figured I would share Mei's birth story.  I think it's important that we as women share our positive birth stories.  We are so bombarded in the media with dramatic, frightening birth stories, something I think has led to one of the main reason our society is so fearful of birth.  While I acknowledge that birth can go wrong, I think, for most women, that it's a safe life event, and that we as women (and with the support of our loved ones) can make birth safer by making better, informed choices.

Like Liam, I decided on a home birth with Mei.  My reasons are numerous, but being in a safe, comforting place was amongst the top reasons.  The hospital frightens me, and takes away control, forcing unnecessary interventions on me and the baby, at least in my experience, and that's something I don't handle well.  I picked a great midwife, someone who made me feel very comfortable, and someone with experience.

I really thought I'd go into labor before Christmas, despite my 29th of December due date.  Lilia was 40 weeks and 6 days, and Liam was 38 weeks.  I had been having strong braxton-hicks, though no where near as bad as Liam's were.  But then I got sick with a seriously bad cough, and any signs of impending labor literally flew out the door.  As I started to get better, the signs returned, but by then, Christmas had come and gone.  December 26 we had a big snow storm, and I spend a few hours of intense braxton-hicks.  Luckily, Mei decided to wait.

Lilia's birthday, December 27
Lilia told us that she didn't want Mei to be born on her birthday.  She informed us that Mei would come the next day.  Apparently she knew what was going on.  On December 27th, Lilia's birthday, I went to bed, not really feeling like anything was going to happen. Contractions kicked up a little, but nothing that made me think "this is it!" Sleep was rather restless though, and it was about 4:30 when I felt what I can only describe as "bubbles" bursting. Nothing like Liam or Lilia's very distinctive "pops". I half thought I was dreaming. I went to the bathroom and had a small gush of liquid. I decided to wait 10-15 minutes to see if contractions started, and then went to the bathroom again, this time turning on the lights. There was a touch of meconium in the fluids, so I knew for sure my waters had indeed broken. I called the midwife, and woke John up. He went about moving stuff around, and Kelly (my midwife) headed over. She had actually just finished catching another baby!

I had minor contractions, but nothing big. It was actually pretty weird, considering both Lilia and Liam were very much *pop* and active labor within 10-20 minutes. I was really at a loss of what to do with myself. I tried to sleep, but couldn't- between the adrenaline and my cough, I felt like I was in a not so cozy frame of mind and body...I think I finally fell asleep for about a half hour at 11, and then again at 12. The midwives slept on my couches, since they hadn't slept that night either.

At some point, John and I watched The Avengers on his computer while we tried some nipple stimulation to see if that couldn't get contractions started. At around 2:30, I felt a very odd pop. I can only describe it as something snapped into place. It surprised me, and it hurt like hell. I started crying, I think both from the pain and shock, but it was shortly after that contractions began. Oh man, I forgot how terrible those really are.  I labored for a while. John and the midwives worked on getting the pool water warm enough, with John coming back during most contractions to rub me and support me. I don't even know what time I got in the water. It was SO warm and it initially felt good, but man...the contractions were plain awful.  Even with being "relaxed", they were hard to handle.  None of my previous hypnobirth training seemed to help, although I will admit to not preparing as well as I did with Liam.  Perhaps a refresher course should've been utilized...

Mei, covered in Vernix, shortly after birth
Kelly checked me at one point and my cervix was slightly swollen, probably from coughing so much. She offered to let me relax or to manually push the cervix lip over the baby's head. I chose the latter, not able to mentally handle the idea of postponing and dealing with more contractions. That hurt like hell. I felt like an animal trapped and in agony, seriously. It took 2-3 contractions of her holding the cervix open while I pushed, and sure enough we got the head through. More pushes, and I could feel Mei descend, and we got the head out.  Pushing didn't feel good this time though- it was as if there was no relief. After a few pushes to get the shoulders out, Kelly checked again, concerned we weren't making progress. With the speed of the other two babies, this one should've "squirted" out. She didn't, and Kelly tried to adjust the position of the baby, but to no avail. Little Miss Mei was stuck. She had me try one more BIG push (no noise, just everything I had) and when that didn't work, the next thing I knew, Kelly and the rest of the midwives lifted me from the water (John helping too), and then put me in a bunch of positions and adjusted the baby. Once on hands and knees, once on my back, and literally Kelly pulled the baby out of me while I pushed with everything I had. It was terrible and painful and I wouldn't wish for that on my worst enemies. The relief of her being out was incredible. She was placed immediately on my chest, and I was pretty much in shock, until Mei cried out and I was like "OH. A Baby! I did it." I was given a shot of pitocin, just because my iron levels weren't that great, and we didn't get a final test to see if it had gone up.

Getting checked out!
After a few minutes, I was helped up and we laid on the couch, Mei and I. I got to actually see her and cuddle her and all that. Kelly was just about to help the placenta when I had a coughing fit and sent the entire placenta flying out on my own, lol. After the cord stopped pulsating, John cut the cord and then we had more cuddle time.  Mei took to the breast like a champ. I was so surprised- neither kid took to nursing that fast before. After she was done, I showered, and then Kelly examined the baby, weighing her and all that good stuff. 8lbs, 12 oz. 20 inches long. Her torso was 3cm bigger than her head (hello reason why she got stuck!) She had 10 fingers, 10 toes, peed during the exam, and she had pooped almost immediately upon coming out, so everything was perfect.

And that's how Mei Elanor, born December 28, 2013 was brought into the world.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Daybook


Outside my window... are clouds, wind and lake effect snow, which seems to go from very light to very heavy.

I am thinking... about how much I have to pee, and how hungry I am, but have a sleeping baby on my chest and don't wish to disturb her.

I am thankful... for a husband who really steps up to take care of the baby, particularly at night.

In the kitchen... is a continuous mess that's never truly contained. 

I am wearing... penguin pajama pants and a spit up covered pajama shirt.

I am creating... milk.  Lots and lots of milk.

I am going... crazy.  Slowly, but surely.

I am wondering... if the baby will actually sleep tonight.

I am reading... lots of websites on colic, fussiness, gas and spit up.

I am hoping... the baby sleeps tonight.

I am looking forward to... spring.  And for Mei to be a tiny bit older, and less fussy.

I am learning... patience.

Around the house... is chaos, although not as much as there could be.  I'm at least keeping up with the living room and dining room chaos.

I am pondering... what to do to occupy my mind as I hold a sleeping baby, or nurse a hungry baby.

A favorite quote for today...
A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. ~Grantly Dick-Read
One of my favorite things... is sleep.  Sleep is so blissful, and you really miss it when you aren't getting much of it.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Sleep, nurse, buy and play the newest Fire Emblem, work on digital scrapbook pages, and basically attempt to survive having a young, fussy baby.

A peek into my day...
Of course this could be a peek into my day, week or even month...
Playing along with The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baby Project, part 2!

Every day, Lilia reminds me that the baby is getting bigger in my belly.  It's getting harder to walk, breath, eat and sleep.  Sometimes it's even hard to sit.  I expect December is going to feel pretty much like the entire summer...slow and never ending.  35 weeks along, and I think this one can come as early as next week, and as late as next year.

Remember this little unit?
Part two of my changing table project was actually transforming an old shelf unit into a small matching wardrobe.  We bought this unit way before we had kids.  At one time it was filled with DVD's and video games.  Then Lilia was born, and began to crawl and then walk, and all our DVD's got strewn onto the floor on a regular basis.  One by one, I emptied the shelves, and than as Lilia got old enough to leave it alone, I started putting it all back.  Until Liam came along, and then it was the same story.  Ever since then, the DVD's really never got put back onto this shelving unit, and there seems no point in trying to use it again for it's intended purpose- I'm sure this little one will do the exact same thing.

Finished, and perfect for newborn clothing!
As I began to gather baby stuff, I stored it in my dining room closet.  Liam's room has no closets, just a wardrobe and a set of drawers.  Lilia's room has a closet, though her toys are mostly stored in there, and no matter how many times I clean my own closet, there never seems to be room in there for long.  And then looking at this shelving unit that now seemed to function as a junk unit, an idea hit me.  A small wardrobe, perfect for holding the baby's clothes.

I started with a coat of paint.  Same color as the changing table.  I decided I wanted to keep a small shelf for storage, so I moved one shelf to the top most holes, and painted the shelf.  I bought an 18-30 inch adjustable clothing rod, and installed that.  There's a basket on the bottom for baby blankets, swaddles and changing table covers.  I debated having a second shelf on the bottom, but that took up too much room.  Because the top shelf was so thin, I used old silverware baskets from my kitchen drawers.  They have things like hair bows and hair bands, nail files, nail clippers, nose sucker, and the like.  I added a basket for bibs on the top, another basket for baby wash, coconut oil, and wipes solution, and the wipes warmer.  The top is actually protected by a plastic desk shield.  And I added a few decals from the set I used on the changing table.  It looks so nice, and I feel so organized!  I'm still debating on adding a curtain rod and a small curtain, but I can't decide if that would be too much.
Side with a decal.

So far, I placed all her newborn clothes, with the exception of onesies in there, as well as 0-3 month outfits, dresses.  I use one of the drawers in the changing table for oneies, and another for sleepers.  Everything fits in there nicely, and as she starts to outgrow items, it will be easy to just break out the next size, while stashing the old sizes.  And once we've had either an addition made, or we move to a bigger house, she can still use it for play clothes and toy storage.  I have a little mental image of attaching a mirror on the other side, and hanging up her (and Lilia and Liam's) dress-up clothes.  And again, this was super cheap.  Except for the baskets and the clothing rod, everything was an extension of the original changing table project.  The baskets I got from Kmart on Black Friday for 24.99 (for a 7 piece set that included a hamper, waste basket, and 5 different sized baskets.) and the clothing rod was $5.