Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Indigo Wild winner

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The Indigo Wild giveaway is done, and baby didn't interrupt things!

The number was 25 - The winner of the Indigo Wild sampler is Alison!

I've emailed the winner, and hope to hear back from her soon.  Thanks for playing, everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

enjoying the babymoon

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It's only been 10 days since we brought out daughter Adelle screaming into the world. I've been enjoying this time for the most part - bah to you, postpartum hemorrhoids! It goes by so very quickly, and her face is constantly changing.  The "new baby" smell already seems like it's wearing off too quickly.

Some of my favorite things about having a brand new baby:

The smallness - the head resting on my elbow while the little bottom sits in my palm.
The curled, balled up way she cuddles in to my arms or on my chest.
The smell.  New babies have a distinct smell. Sniffin' babies is a new mama drug.
The sounds of a baby rooting for some food.
Kissing those sweet baby cheeks and lips.
The newborn cry (although we try not to let crying happen to much).
Baby bobble-heads. So cute!

As for me, I feel like I've been doing well. Spectacularly, in fact.  I suspect this has much to do with the way I spent the first few days postpartum. On the day she was born, I spent most of the time laying in bed, except for one trip downstairs, when I showered, greeted our first visitors, and got some dinner. The next day, I stayed in bed all day, except for trips to the bathroom.  I rested. People brought me food and drink. Visitors came to me. I napped. The next day, I stayed in bed, except for a trip downstairs to shower, get some lunch, and then back upstairs.

So you see how it went.  I actually rested.  I focused on not being up, on letting other people do things for me. After having the first two kids, I sincerely think the way I have felt has to do with the quality of my rest and inactivity.  Yes, it seems obvious, but until I experienced it myself, I would have thought my recovery after the first two was pretty good, too.

There are a few things I've been using that I think have made a big difference in how I feel, physically.

The Belly Bandit. Wow. I seriously recommend this, or something like it. I haven't felt like my innards are falling out. It helps me remember to sit up straight. If I leave it off for a few hours, I can tell, and I'm ready to have it back on. People have commented that I look slimmer than I did after the last two, and I totally attribute it to the belly bandit.

Earth Mama Angel Baby postpartum stuff.  Monthly comfort tea, earth mama bottom balm, and the bath herbs. Oh, and the Booby Tubes. Bliss, Cold Bliss!

iPad. Seriously.  I think this is what allowed me to stay in bed for so long.  Thanks Apple!  I surfed the internet, facebook and my forums, watched shows on netflix, and managed not to go stir-crazy.

Another thing that's different this time around is that I feel like "myself"mentally, and even somewhat physically - I feel comfortable in my skin and body, and I'm able to focus and think on things outside just surviving the day, and outside of simply staring at my newborn all the time (I still do that a lot, though). Even though I'm sad to think of my new baby loosing her new-ness, I'm ready to get right back to working on projects that were unfinished before Adelle arrived.  The sewing projects are things I can start on, as well as some computing projects.

I have the wisdom this time around to continue with low-key activities for another couple of weeks, but I think that once I'm at the 4-6 weeks postpartum mark, I'll be ready to start tackling some of the big things we have coming up over the next several months, like getting ready for my 5k!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Introducing Adelle Jane

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On Saturday, November 19 we welcomed the newest addition to our family:

Decorations by E and N, proud siblings.
She was born at home at 12:57 pm, after about a 13 hour labor. She weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and is 20.5 inches long.  She is the exact same dimensions as her sister was at birth!  She is quite clearly a different child, though. She has dark hair all over her head, and slept most of the first two days of her life. She's a very peaceful child, and rarely fusses or cries without a clear reason.

If you're not interested in reading about the details of Adelle's birth, please feel free to skim through and just look at the pictures! This birth story is a little bit harder to share than Nathanael's because the whole experience was a much harder one for me.

One hour after arrival - tired but happy mama and sweet baby.
On Friday November 18, I started having some light prelabor contractions in the morning. After lunch I decided to try timing them. They were more than 5 minutes apart and shorter than 40 seconds. Nothing intense. The kids and I made pumpkin muffins, and I made some buns for our burgers for supper. I called the midwife, N, to let her know things might be gearing up. Around 8 pm, I saw some bloody show.  Jude and I thought 'this might be it!' and decided to turn in early.

Day 2 - resting up in bed - what a difference it can make!
We went to bed around 9, and it took me quite a while to settle. Contractions were distracting, but not so much that I couldn't fall asleep around 10:30 or 11:00. I slept until about 12 midnight, and then was up with contractions that continued to distract me. (Although the midwife wasn't there at this time, she suspects this is about the time that I transitioned from pre-labor into the real thing).  I worked at breathing through contractions, and I used a contraction timer app on Jude's iPad throughout the night. I could doze lightly between some of them.  I was definitely applying some of my relaxation and breathing techniques! Jude got up to help me out by rubbing my back and applying pressure. It felt nice! They gradually got closer together, and I called the MW around 5:30 am to let her know things were moving along, and we thought it was time – contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and generally about a minute long. She said she'd come over to check on things and we'd go from there.

Mama, E, and Adelle - E loves being with her sister - she totally called it!
She arrived at 6:30 am, and a cervical check showed I was about 7cm dilated! The kids were up about 7, and Jude put in a movie for them. N and I had talked about how I thought I labored better if I didn't have people hovering around me, unless I requested some help. She was respectful of this, and stayed in a different room, except to come and check in on me once in a while. The midwife's assistant, L, arrived around 8, and I got into the bath tub to see if it could offer some pain relief.  It did for a while - I listened to my labor playlist, and sang along through some contractions, which helped me to focus. The kids would come up and talk to me every once in a while. Contractions seemed to slow down, so I got out of the tub at about 9:30 am. Another cervical check – a stretchy 9 cm – almost 10! 

Calm in the water - she liked to stretch out!
I stayed out of the tub and walked around briskly to encourage contactions, which did the job. They got more and more intense, and I was moaning and vocalizing trough them. I spent quite a while in the bathroom, alternating between squating while holding on to the edge of the tub, leaning over the tub and swaying my hips, sitting on the toilet, and doing some side lunges. I just wanted to be done. Things kept going along without seeming to get to a pushing point, and I was getting tired of being upright. I was still able to keep my humor between contractions, although I got more and more serious as time went on, because I was so tired and hurting.

I remember hearing Jude talking on the phone, and the noise of the kids and the midwives talking, and I found all of that noise really annoying. I told the midwives I wanted to lay down, and headed back into the bedroom. I got into a side lying position on my left side, and found that lying down did seem to help some with the pain, but I also was having a hard time with all the energy. I took to gripping Jude's hand, which helped. After a bit, N suggested I try a push to see if it felt better putting some energy into that. At first, it didn't seem to matter either way, but then it seemed to feel better to be pushing into the contraction.
Day 4 - Naming Day! Cuddling up with Daddy.
I never felt a distinct urge to push. I continued to put my own effort into the contraction, and I felt my body start to kick in some automatic bearing down. It hurt a lot, but pushing seemed better than not doing anything. N suggested I put my upper leg up. L tried supporting my leg, but that felt tense, so I had Jude hold it for me, which helped. I felt like I was yelling now through the contractions, and I kept throwing my head back. N reminded me to tuck my chin. It was so intense, and I really didn't want to keep working at it anymore. I was pushing, and I knew I needed to keep pushing more. I would start in pushing at the beginning of a contraction (because it felt better than not pushing) and about the time I was done, my body would kick in some urge to push, and it seemed to go on forever. I could feel the pressure in my face and lips. I was squeezing my eyes shut each time. Jude was encouraging me all the way. (Still glad I didn't have a chorus of "push! push!" - I just did what worked for me.) I remember trying to talk the baby out - 'Come on baby, I want to meet you!'

Day 5 - with Papa, an experienced baby holder.
I didn't want to move, but I felt like I needed to get over onto my hands and knees, and work that way. I rested my arms on a stack of pillows, and Jude was holding my hands. I was gripping him so tightly! He said something, which I interpreted to mean that I needed to put the energy into the push and not the grip (not what he said at all, though!) I knew I had to push to get through this, but it just kept hurting and burning more. I could feel the baby sliding back in at the end of a contraction a couple of times. Pushing through, pushing through. Oh, how I wished it would get over with! I kept thinking it couldn't get worse, but it did. N was trying to help by stretching things, but after a bit, that felt awful, and didn't help, and made it harder to handle the contractions. I really did feel like things were just going to rip apart, and I couldn't help myself from making some noises indicating my distress. But finally, we were there! I felt her crowning, and coming, out, out, out, and then relief! I pushed for about 30 minutes, but it sure felt like forever.

Baby girl was pretty blue to start with, but she was breathing and crying right away. N was vigilant in suctioning the mucus out of the way and stimulating her make sure the baby was clearing her airway. I flipped over (with assistance) and we got her right to my chest, skin to skin. She was crying quite a bit, and pinked up nicely. I was so happy to see her! It totally made all the work worth it, but unlike the previous two babies, I didn't feel this “wasn't too bad," or "I would do that again.” It was a lot of hard work.

Day 6 - We give thanks for our wonderful children!
Elizabeth and Nathanael both saw their sister born, sitting quitely on a bench next to the wall. Both seemed pretty excited to be there, and still talk about it.

Afterwards, I stayed on the bed for quite a while, snuggling with the girl. Jude tells me that shortly after the birth, Nathanael left the room. Jude went to find out what he was doing, and found him getting a cup of water for the baby (Elizabeth said the baby was thirsty). I remember Nathanael bringing a cup of water to us. He also got a cup of yogurt for the baby, because Elizabeth said the baby was hungry! He is quite attentive and loving with Adelle.

It was nice to get to see the baby weighed and measured, something I missed out on with the other two. Adelle started nursing at about a hour after birth, and continued for the next hour.  It was nice to just cuddle in and get to know her. N and her assistant stayed around for more than and hour, making sure everything was going well, and giving us some reminders of things to watch for to make sure that baby and I were doing well.

We are absolutely in love with our beautiful little girl!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Our newest family member arrived on Saturday. I'll be posting an official introduction in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

40 weeks!

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40 weeks!

Hopefully this is the last weekly update picture I'll take.  No black dress picture today.  The dress is  hiding somewhere.

Come out, Baby Cakes!

Even though I don't have a desire to be pregnant longer, I know that babies come in their own time.  Due date? Pshaw... More like guess date.  Two weeks on either side is considered normal.  So really, I could be looking at two more weeks of fun and excitement (although I'm not anticipating or hoping that I'll be hosting Cakes in my belly for that much longer.)

I'm amazed that I still have no new stretch marks.  Perhaps the previous two did all the stretching.  If only I could get what I have to go away... oh well, that's wishing.  Mama marks. There's really nothing wrong with them, except that society tells us we should have perfect, flawless skin. They tell a story, though - the work my body has done for months and months to produce the beautiful, intelligent children I have.  People brag about other scars and marks. Perhaps stretchmarks are brag-worthy, too.

I'm mostly just biding time, now.  I have several designs for baby announcements, but for whatever reason, I'm inclined wait until after Cakes arrives to pick a design and order the papers and envelopes.  I have quite a bit of baking I could do - lactation cookies, pumpkin muffins, bread....  I've been thinking about making some homemade tortillas and putting them in the freezer (which is getting quite full).

I'm trying to keep the house in the same state of "clean" that it currently is in.  Which, really, I should do all the time. It's much easier to keep up with every day it than it is to let it slide till everything needs a good cleaning.  I'm so glad Jude is home.  He motivates me to clean. I see him cleaning something, and I'll pitch in and work along side him.  Not so much for self-motivation when it comes to cleaning.

I've been trying to work out a vague plan for post-baby return to fitness.  Since I want to do the 5k in April, I'll need to start doing some walking.  Now, I know from previous experience that it is better for my body and mind if I play it pretty low key for the first 3-4 weeks.  Makes my recovery sooooo much better. After 4 weeks, I'll be better able to evaluate where I am, and hopefully, I'll be able to get out and buy my new shoes (yay!), and start building up my minutes walking.  I figure I'll have to start with something small, like 10-15 minutes a day at a slow pace, and then increasing over several weeks to a longer walks at a more brisk pace.  I am so grateful for the treadmill I have in my home!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

saving for something

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photo from  xJason.Rogersx via flickr
I really need to take a close look at my household budget.  I really need to figure where I can start making some additional savings.  Jude and I have a couple of short term and long term goals that we need to save towards.  We've been blessed that our life situation has allowed us to save money regularly, and we are grateful that we have a good chunk of money set aside for some of our goals (like replacing Jude's truck, or replacing the car when it won't fit our family anymore). We set aside an amount each month that gets put directly in our savings account, but I have a desire to increase that amount, and perhaps find something that gives us a better return (I'm just not feeling the stock martket right now...).  Since I'm the one who manages the household budget, and since I'm the one who tends to do the less necessary spending, I feel the responsibility for reigning it in falls on me.

Before Children (BC), I was really great about regularly entering all my receipts into Quicken, reconciling my checkbook, reconciling my credit card statements, and keeping track of my spending in general.  Now? My receipts are more than half a year behind, as are my other statements, and I haven't actually maintained the register in my check book for more than 2 years!  Ack!!  I need to get back on track.

I used to do a lot of couponing, but I've fallen out of that, for the most part. It seemed like I didn't save enough to justify purchasing newspapers for coupons (although I never figured the actual numbers).  I tend to avoid the boxed, processed goods, and I prefer to purchase natural/organic products.  There aren't as many coupons readily available for what I buy. I might need to take a closer look and find out where I could adjust some of that more. 

I totally need to check my impulse buying - it's been bad with baby Cakes on the way. I see a cute baby outfit, and although I totally don't need it, sometimes I buy it anyway. I see a handy gadget, or get an idea for a craft project, and want to buy the supplies. (On each of these, though, most of the time, I walk around with it in my cart for a while, and ultimately put it back in stead of buying.)  I eat out once a week with the kids when we go shopping, and I could cut that out. 

I know we've already adjusted our spending from several years ago, and have more cash to save, but I also know we could do more, and not really feel it.  We might even be at a point where we want to really tighten up our financial ship for a year or two, so we could make some major headway in our savings goals.

This won't all be happening within the next few weeks, I can guarantee.  I think, however, that when January rolls around that we'll have the chance to dig in and get a clearer idea of how we can get even farther down the road to achieving our goals.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"a pig in a box"

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Elizabeth's first sentence. She spelled all the words her self, and made up the sentence all by herself.

"A pig in a box"

The "a" between pig and in was misplaced, and she didn't erase it.

She also went on to write "A ball in a box"

(The note book is a home-made dry erase workbook, inspired by Mama to 4 Blessings. Super easy to make, and Nathanael loves it too.  I might have to make one just for him so they don't fight over it.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

39 weeks (come out, baby Cakes!)

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I'm tired. Say cheese?
39 weeks!

We are almost there, almost done with being pregnant!  I am fortunate that this pregnancy has also proven to be a pretty easy journey.  No morning sickness, and generally I've felt pretty good throughout most of the pregnancy.  And, at 39 weeks, I STILL have no new stretch marks, which I find completely remarkable, considering I had them with the other two.  Thanks, Earth Mama! In the early half of pregnancy, I was dealing with some mild SPD/pelvic girdle pain, but it has improved remarkably since then, along with regular chiropractic care.

Don't forget to put in your guess about baby Cake's arrival!  I'll be closing the game in a few days.

So many projects are unfinished, but that's okay.  Things will get done eventually, and having a baby won't put life at a stand-still forever.

This morning, Nathanael told Cakes, "Come out, Baby!" Perhaps hearing it from a sibling will encourage things along?

I'm now a mix of impatient and "wait baby, not yet!" I've birthed two babies before, but each experience is a new one, entire unto itself.  I  know it's hard work, and I know I can do it, but that doesn't mean I look forward to the unknown factors involved. Actually, what I look forward to the Least is the possibility of several days of prodromal/pre- labor at night that keeps me a wake, and leaves me tired, without actually getting the baby out, or any obvious progress. Thank goodness for naps, I guess.  The upside of all the work is that eventually we'll get to meet baby Cakes, and THAT is well worth any process!

So now, we're just waiting. My due date buddy from church already had her baby. Waiting, waiting...

Friday, November 04, 2011

warm days of fall

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Last week we had the last few warm days of fall.  The kids were outside playing, and I had to take some pictures of them enjoying what they didn't realize would be one of the last days of running around outside without a jacket or coat.

A boy and his tractor.

A tractor needs dirt.

Boy + Tractor = Dirt on Boy

He can't really be getting that big. Right?

See me, Mama?

Here comes Elizabeth...

Let's Race!

Wanna go again?

Good thing E believes in Win-Win Races!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

38 weeks

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38 weeks! Almost there!

I'm for sure in the last few weeks' stretch, where I am kind of ready to be done.  Anytime would be good.  I'm impatient to meet Cakes, to find out if Cakes is a girl or a boy.  (Don't forget to make a guess in the game! You don't have to register to play!) I'm not necessarily outrageously uncomfortable, but it's hard to sleep (and stay asleep), it's hard to tie my shoes, and I'm definitely waddling, especially when I'm tired.

I  need to give a shout out to my photographer, lo, these many weeks: Elizabeth! She's done a pretty good job working with the "big" camera.

I've been surprised to see my weight level off over the past few weeks, and even, just maybe, drop a bit.  I've read that's not uncommon in the last 4 weeks, but it sure seems counter intuitive.  It's also not consistent with my previous two pregnancies. But whatever.  So, as it stands, I've gained somewhere between 29 and 32 pounds.  That's really a pretty good place to be.  And know what else?  I have ZERO new stretch marks thus far, in distinct contrast to the last two babes, where I had them around 36 weeks. I might be crediting the Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil with that.  I used other products the previous two pregnancies, and they didn't help then.

Back to the arrival of Cakes. Although I say anytime would be good, really, Cakes needs to wait until at least Friday night, when Jude will be home for Baby Watch 2011. Even though my house is NOT clean, and my projects are NOT done, that's just how it goes. We'll manage, if Cakes arrives before everything is as perfect as I want it to be.

The infant seat is in the car, the diapers are washed and ready to go.  Baby clothes are in the dresser, birth supplies are readily available.  I'm charging my phone regularly, and keeping it nearer the bedroom in case it's needed in the middle of the night. (Usually we keep all electronics, excepting the digital clock, downstairs and out of the bedrooms.) I have downloaded a contraction timer app on Jude's ipad so we don't have to mess with watching a clock or writing it down.

Some things I kind of wish I had at this point, but don't really matter:

A cute nursing pajamas set.  I haven't found one that totally grabs me, but something like this:
Long Sleeve V-neck Lace Trim Nursing 3 Piece Set   or this:        

A stylish diaper bag that doesn't scream diaper bag.  Something not too big and bulky, but that can contain enough cloth diapers for a day out, nursing supplies, and a change of clothes for the kids. Something that has a shoulder strap, or is messenger style, rather than tote/handle style.

And probably a few other things, but I can't really think of them at the moment.

It's funny to think we've gone from this:

To this in just 9 months.  How did it go so fast?

How did it GROW so fast?  Here's a little (poorly done) slide show demonstrating the degree of change from week 12 to week 38.  I look almost skinny (comparatively!) in the 12 week photo. The hair is now longer, the skirt appears to be shorter... Oh, how bodies can change.

My kids being goofy is one thing that has remained the same. E is playing the drums.  Nathanael? is wearing a hat. He likes hats, as long as he can take them off shortly after putting them on.  Hats are funny, don't you know? And, of course, E getting some just "her" time dancing.

One of our last portraits of just Mama with only two birthed babes..
I think they're pretty cute!

crazy making procrastination

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I'm crazy-making.  I'm procrastinating, and still getting stuff done at the same time.  Wha?

I didn't do what was on my list yesterday, but I did spend (too many hours) time working on design ideas for the birth announcement.  I usually like to have the design done so I can order the envelopes (I like fun colors) and be working on addressing them prior to baby arriving.  I'm just having trouble settling on a color theme.  But, I have a couple of designs that I really like!

I managed to finish the painting on a spray-painted frames project, which hopefully will become a blog post before Cakes arrives.
I want my desk (and house) to look like this again.
What didn't I do?  Laundry. Cleaning my kitchen. Washing and vacuuming my floors, cleaning the bathroom.  That kind of stuff.  The Boring stuff. The Stuff I tend to put off.  I am not the world's best housekeeper.
Before one of these shows up.

So, today, I guess I'll try to hit on the boring stuff. Sigh. I made a list, on paper, to help direct my activities.  If I find myself wandering, I can go back to it.  If I tape it in front of my computer monitor, then I'll have to stare it down before I can waste more time on the computer.

Before This shows up.
So how is this all crazy-making?  Because I'm making myself crazy by NOT doing some basic housekeeping, and instead procrastinating by doing the "fun" stuff!  I don't want Cakes to arrive (and the midwife(s) and the visitors) to a house that is a disaster - dirty floored, with clutter all over the place. Piles of laundry waiting to be washed, sorted, folded and put away (did you know that yesterday there was only one seat available in the living room, because the rest were covered in unfolded laundry?)

Before food like this becomes the temporary standard in our house.
Anybody want to come to my house and clean my kitchen?  The mice have been out again (in spite of my killing several of them recently) and I Must get the gross-ness removed post-haste. Of course, that also means decluttering the counters enough to wash them. Finding homes for the random stuff that sits around. Putting away waiting projects, so they can wait until another time.

And, my other children need attention, too. Playing with them, reading with them, because pretty soon my time and attention will be significantly absorbed with a new baby.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

newborn cloth diapers

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Newborn cloth diapers are so cute!

Here's what I have:
24 infant prefolds
12 Kissaluvs Size 0 (with a handy newborn umbilical stump fold down area.)

2 Dappis pull-on covers

Here's a question about the Kissaluvs, for you other cloth diapering parents: How do you keep the cotton fleece fluffy instead of clumped or crunchy?  When I dry in the dryer, it just mats the fibers together, leaving it not as soft as it felt when new.  When I dry on the line, it leaves the crunchy, and I end up spending a minute or two on each diaper rubbing the fabric against itself to soften and fluff the fibers.  Suggestions?

I didn't use these very much with N, because he had a mysterious rash that I thought was diaper related (turns out, it probably wasn't). I am hopeful that I'll have Cakes in cloth from day one, although I do have some leftover NB/SZ1 disposable diapers left over from N.

Diapering newborns is so easy, compared to the big kids! You don't really have to rinse the poo off the diapers (if breastfed), It just goes straight into the diaper pail, and really, the pail doesn't stink as much, compared to the smells given off by older kids' diapers.  It looks like I'll have two in diapers (again).  That's okay, though - it's not as awful as all that.

I tried to find a picture of one of my kids in the the newborn diapers, but alas, I have none! So here's a photo of E at 2 months with a bumGenius one-size diaper. See how it looks kind of.... big?
Even with a more than sufficient stash of diapers, I'm really interested in some of the pocket style or all-in-one style diapers sized for newborns.  Experience tells me that even with an 8lb kid, the one-size diapers didn't fit well until baby was several weeks old.  I really love my pocket diapers, but I have nothing like that for newborns.  

Anyone have a favorite diaper for newborns? What is it, and why?

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