Baby Blanket Cheat

I was so relieved to finally finish a mini quilt I made two years ago, that I got the nerve to make a new blanket for Little Sis, my full term, not yet born baby. I have made each of my children one so far, so I felt like it was only right.

I bought this awesome spray that adheres batting to fabric without using a hundred safety pins! It was on sale for half price, otherwise it would have been a bit pricey. I paid 7 USD.

To make this super easy baby comforter, all I did was cut two pieces of cotton fabric the desired size and two pieces of batting (I like extra loft). I sprayed the batting pieces to each other and the fabric on either side of the batting.

All was left to do was sew the quilting lines and add the binding.

Now when Little Sis is born she has a Mommy made blankie like Addy and JJ!

Here is her baby comforter, and pics of my earth-side children (at 2 days and then day of birth) and their blankets.

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2 Years of Procrastination

I was on bedrest for the last trimester of my second child and desperately needed something to do while my husband was out of town. In about a week, I managed to start and almost finish a tiny Ohio star quilt block quilt (except the whole quilt was only one 9 patch), I did the whole baby blanket by hand since I wasn’t allowed to sit up much. All that needed finishing was to hand sew the back part of the binding, for an invisible seam.

Well, I am going to use a no-no word: I hate hand sewing. Absolutely abhor it, I cannot get the stitches even, or place them properly etc. I did the piecing by hand, but did not know how to sew the invisible binding seam and was not up for any more hand stitches. So I procrastinated….FOR 2 YEARS!

My daughter found the mostly finished blanket among my fabric stash and was so thrilled that she had found a blanket I was making her. I wasn’t, but who am I to crush her heart, huh? So I kept it out and waited another month or more. Well, yesterday I finally gave in and just machine sewed (is that really a verb?) the binding on. I have seen enough store bought blankets to realize that binding does not have to be perfect, it just has to cover the seams.

I finished it in ten minutes. I procrastinated 2 years for a 10 min project.

*sigh*

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A World of Firsts

Last night was date night for me and Jeff. We have been married for 5.5 years and wanted a special night before the birth of our third child. We have done a ‘baby-moon’ for each of our children, and though last night was the simplest one we have had, it was still great. We went out to a steak dinner and cuddled while we watched a storm approach above the river. After our time at the park we picked up The Confession and some snacks.

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I would have liked a picture of both of us…

 

Naturally, one of our indulgences were Dove Chocolates and inside one of the wrappers it said, “Remember your first everything.” And that is what I shall attempt to do.

My first best friend: Katie, we were friends before we were school age and our backyards shared the same fence. Our favorite activity was playing house outside in the mud, and digging for treasure.

My first crush: Morgan, he was very funny for a first grader.

My first chapter book: Bunnicula. I am not sure why, but this was what my first grade teacher let me borrow, so that is what I read. I didn’t enjoy it a ton, but love reading anyway.

My first academic heartbreak: When writing down the first letters of objects pictured, I put an ‘F’ under refrigerator. In my house we always just called it a fridge, and so I got it wrong. It still bothers me now that I got a question wrong, and it was the first red X I remember and I avoided them the rest of my academic career. Ridiculous? I know, tell me about it ;)

My first sibling: I have 6 siblings, but my first one is named Stephan, and he came 22 months after I did. We competed for everything. Absolutely everything.

My first airplane ride: After driving from Central FL to TX, my first airplane ride was from Dallas to LA to Hong Kong. I love flying! Landing makes me a bit nervous, but being above the clouds is amazing, especially when you can see the sun rise.

My first paying job: Domino’s pizza.

My first car: 1991 Toyota Corolla. It sounded and felt like a go cart, but only cost $900 and had amazing AC.

My first large purchase: A violin. I worked all summer to pay for one and LOVED playing and could play for hours. Sadly, I did not take any classes in high school because JROTC filled my schedule instead. I miss playing my violin, but hit a wall in my ability so it was not as much fun after a while.

The first time I left home: I went away for a month at 16, but away to college at 17 and got married a month after turning 20.

My first time feeling like an adult: At 18 I was a camp counselor and I had a girl get an amazing gash on her scalp. The qualified adult life guards did not know how to handle the situation so I did. Having 4 crazy little brothers gives you plenty of experience with blood, and yes, even ERs.

My first mini novel: It was 50-70 typed pages (back when you still got to tear the dotted edges off :) about a Native American girl named Sunshine who had to move across the nation. I love history, and I love writing, so I turned my small 8th grade history project (supposed to be 4 ish pages) into a book. I let lots of people read it and amazingly other people enjoyed it too.

My first culture shock: When my mom and a friend dropped me off at Clearwater Christian College I stood on the balcony and watched all the people walk and drive by. They were almost all white and I did not expect that. They all dressed nicely and many of them had nice cars and I remember thinking that most of them had probably never had to ask God for food or had to miss out on anything because of money and I felt so very alone.

My first home after marriage:

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We got married just before Christmas and rented a home about 600 square feet with a yard over a 1/4 acre of land. This is back when I still wore pants, I have not worn pants in years, this picture feels ancient to me.

My first child and parenting experience: Yikes! I love my first child with all my heart, but with a very rough labor and a very colicky baby I wondered for 6 months if I could survive parenting. It got much better, and there are rough patches, but it has been amazing.

My first I love you: I am horrible with admitting my feelings to myself and especially to others. I remember just weeks after dating my husband just KNOWING that I loved him. The feeling did not come with words, but the suddenness of it terrified me. He told me he loved me after a long Saturday on campus together and a very romantic conversation over a picnic lunch accompanied by three yellow roses. It took me a month or more to say it back, even though I knew it was true, even then I wrote it down in a sweet card first.

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My 3rd Pregnancy in a Nutshell

I have not kept a pregnancy journal and honestly I’m not sure there are enough interesting happenings to put in one. But I thought I would jot down all the things I remember about this pregnancy.

I first suspected pregnancy toward the beginning of November. We were not trying to conceive so it was a surprise, but we have never tried before so it was not a huge surprise either. I took me a week after my missed cycle before I could test positive and the wait was tough!

Early in the pregnancy, about 5 weeks, I started having trouble eating. I was super nauseous my first pregnancy, and just a manageable sickness with my second but this time was different. I did feel nauseous sometimes, but I just couldn’t eat. I could not bear to put food in my mouth at all, everything made me gag. I tried to eat healthy anyway, but ate so little that I lost about 14 lbs the first trimester.

I started making smoothies to get some calories and vitamins and drank a few a day between my scant meals.

The only major issue I had my first trimester was extreme exhaustion. I was super tired my last two pregnancies but this felt like an other worldly kind of tired. Maybe because I had two children, some people blamed my age (I’m only 25, so I doubt that), but baby growing is tiring, do we really need another reason?

At about 16 weeks that awful gag reflex went away and I was able to eat like a normal person. This is also when I was less tired, still not normal, but operable. The second trimester was not eventful, we spent it traveling the States from church to church, so much of it is a blur anyway!

There was some issue with a due date at my 17 week ultrasound. The baby measured small for gestational age. The difference in age was between 7-13 days and the tech told us she would put 10 days different on the report, but ended up putting 9 days instead. The midwife would have changed the due date if the difference was 10 days, but could not because it was 9 days on the report. I was a little worried because my last two babies were off by two weeks and even after changing my due date two weeks farther away, my son came over a week past his due date.

I did not have my due date changed despite the evidence my first pregnancy and did not enjoy being induced. I do worry about induction this time around in case the due date is faulty, but my new provider, a midwife, would not induce until 42 weeks so I would still be at least 40 weeks, and that is okay. My last induction was 38 weeks and baby was not ready, even if it does happen, baby will be ready at 40 weeks no doubt.

One interesting issue I had this pregnancy is insomnia. I went several weeks where I could not for the life of me sleep more than 6 hours. This made me very productive in the very early hours, but sleepy the second half of the day!

Eeesh! My back does not like being pregnant! I try not to complain because I feel like ignoring pain makes it more tolerable, and I really don’t like admitting pain to people. Talking about pain builds it up and gives a sort of anticipation that makes it less than easy to handle. But it is another one of those symptoms that has been harder every pregnancy. Makes me nervous to have a fourth, or maybe the third one reaches capacity…..?

I am currently 37 weeks 3 days pregnant. We are trying to get every cupboard and drawer organized in the next few days just in case. We had a scare two days ago when I had some false labor for a few hours. It was rougher than the real labor I had last time and sent pain clear down to my knees from every contraction! I sure hope this labor does not feel like that when it really comes!

But I doubt it will, one day of false labor with my second child was a day of back labor. Yes, a whole day of back labor. Luckily my mom was in town visiting and knew how to use a rolling pin effectively!

I believe we have everything we need for baby to come, we may buy a few pacifiers, we used them a tiny bit with our other two, but they both suck on their fingers or thumb so it was not necessary (and I’m lazy). This girlie has been sucking her thumb since 17 weeks and if that is what a baby is inclined to do, can you really stop them? I tried with my son, and it just goes back in so I quit trying. He’s almost 2 now and he still does it.

I have not written a birth plan. Maybe I should? I’m not sure. All the things I would put on a plan are not customary anyway since I am delivering out of hospital. IV’s are only used if absolutely necessary (and GBS +), there are no pain medications to decline, they do not do episiotomies and are excellent at preventing tears with counter pressure. They ask before doing anything to my child, so I get to choose whether I desire the K shot or eye ointment. There is no where to take my baby to, and the newborn exam will take place in my arms’ reach and they will share every detail with me.

They do not bathe the baby because it is not necessary, and will place the baby immediately in my arms. Honestly, I don’t know what else there is to choose. I can choose to birth in land or water during labor and I can labor any way I desire.

As long as my blood pressure stays in range and there is no prolapsed cord or other emergency, I don’t believe I need a birth plan with my provider. On the other hand, if I do have to get transferred, what good is a plan in an emergency?

Wait, while you rush to save my baby’s life, will you please read this paper?…..I don’t think so.

About that baby’s name. WE STILL DO NOT HAVE A NAME! Is that horrible? We try and try to come up with the right name but cannot seem to find it. I am full term so maybe we should start trying a little harder.

Our current favorite name would leave her the nickname Jolie, and I love it, but my husband is worried people would always think of a certain actress or think we named her after the actress. But I feel like one person shouldn’t have the monopoly on a name and that people can learn new associations with names.

We already get asked all the time if we named our daughter Adelle after the singer Adele.

Most of pregnancy topics are about how uncomfortable Mom is, or how long pregnancy is and I do not want to go into all the uncomfortable details. Besides, time, and your patience, would fail before I finished my woes on my back, hips, swelling, headaches and painful BH contractions ;)

I am super excited to have baby number 3! I do worry tad about being outnumbered parents to children, but we love children and probably are not stopping at number 3 either. We will see what God wills is :)

34.5 weeks

34.5 weeks

Manipulation and Motives

Sometimes we can just see her little heart of gold for her brother!

Sometimes we can just see her little heart of gold for her brother!

My sweet daughter was preparing to go out with me and very excited for some time for just the two of us. When my son assumed he too was going she said, “No, JJ you can’t go with us, it is just me and Mommy.”

I understand she felt special and excited, but her tone was less than polite to her almost two year old brother. Not wanting to quench her excitement or hurt my son’s feelings I told Adelle,

“JJ gets to spend time alone with Daddy while we are out, let’s help him feel happy to spend time with Daddy!” and I suggested she say something like: ” JJ, we are going to go out and you get to stay here and play with Daddy!”

I spent a minute explaining why we want to say nice things and make JJ feel good about the decision we already made for him. Then I felt like I was teaching her to manipulate her brother’s feelings.

I have had similar feelings when explaining to my daughter why we say please, thank you and ask for things politely. I have often said things like, “When you are nice and kind, people WANT to be nice to you too.”

After a few weeks trying to figure out if I was teaching my daughter correctly I think I have come up with an answer.  I think the answer lies in our motive.

The truth is, most of the reasons we are polite are fairly manipulative. Is it okay to manipulate people? Absolutely not! But at the end of the day, can you really make people do what they don’t want to do? No (and I’m a big sister -and wife-, I’ve tried!).

Being polite and phrasing conversations in a positive light just helps people in their decision making.

What are our motives in all our polite lifestyles and positive takes on life? They can be self gratifying, but by and large, that is not why I am kind. In this situation with my son, I did want to get out of the house in peace, but I mostly wanted him to feel just as special as his sister.

When I teach Adelle to ask for her snatched toys politely, yes, I am looking to stop a fight and possibly a minor injury, but I mostly want my children to be happy and learn to be kind in adverse situations.

I tend to over think and over complicate, but in teaching my daughter why we smile and talk to people, ask for things politely and be a blessing I really feel like I am giving her the ability to manipulate people and situations. And in many ways I am, so with this I realize I must also guide her to having the proper motives.

We are kind to make other people happy and to keep peace.

So inevitably when she makes me explain why we behave in certain ways I will have to spend more time talking about how we make the other person feel and less about what we get out of it.

Streusel Oatmeal

I semi-recently shared a recipe for Chocolate Covered Banana Baked Oatmeal. I have started to eat oatmeal because of the health benefits and because it is supposed to be a nursing super food and I plan on having a baby soon!!

My daughter prefers silly faces to smiling in the morning :)

My daughter prefers silly faces to smiling in the morning :)

My kids and I have been eating it almost every day with tons of different variations but I would like to share my absolute favorite variation with you! It is like having desert for breakfast, but still has less sugar than store bought cereal, and no preservatives.

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Streusel Oatmeal – Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of milk of your choice but I use Whole
  • 1.5 cups of quick cooking oats
  • pinch of salt
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Nuts – I prefer pecans, but I’m from FL :)

Directions:

  • Bring milk to a boil, I stir it a bit to prevent the milk from burning to the pan.
  • Add the oats and a pinch of salt when it begins to boil
  • Boil 1.5-2 mins, stirring occasionally
  • I let it rest for a minute or two after I remove it from the heat to let it thicken
  • Top each serving with a slice of butter, a spoonful or two of brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts.

This is probably not a new idea to someone who makes oatmeal often, but if making oatmeal is new to you I would suggest you try and experiment with it! It only dirties one pan and only takes a few minutes to make and is pretty healthy overall. I had to make it several times before it was edible, but I learned that making it with milk makes all the difference! What is your favorite oatmeal add ins?

Even a picky eater will eat something with a spoonful of brown sugar....right? Letting the kids put their own cinnamon makes it extra special :)

Even a picky eater will eat something with a spoonful of brown sugar….right? Letting the kids put their own cinnamon makes it extra special :)

Kinesthetic Method of Teaching Shapes

It will never cease to amaze me just how differently my two children learn! Not only do they pick things up differently, they pick up different subjects! I can honestly say that I don’t know what ages kids are supposed to learn what, and I think I want to keep it that way. I knew my son was capable of learning his shapes, but I could never get his wiggly self to look at paper long enough to care what was on it!

Enter a new game: I read that boys like to learn while moving. Makes sense, my son likes to always be moving….and throwing things….and banging on things….etc :) So I went to our front porch (it was too hot in the driveway!!) and drew three different shapes, three different colors and had my kids race from one to the other.

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JJ understands racing; he and his big sis have been racing since he could walk!

I started them on one shape and would just call out another shape and they would run to it. I did not make it an issue of winning and losing, but celebrated when they BOTH made it to keep them both wanting to play.

The first good while (they played for quite some time!) he was following his three year old sister’s lead, but he got comfortable making his own decision on which shape I called out. He was not always right, but he began getting more right answers then wrong at the end! 20130619-055446.jpg

To change it up a bit I began calling out different shapes for them. “Adelle run to the ___, and JJ run to the ___. Ready, go!” and it was fun like that too! It also provided a bit more critical thinking on my son’s part :)

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My last variation kept the game interesting for a bit longer and added another dimension of learning. We had the children move like different animals to the different shapes. This solidified many sounds and movements my son has learned about different animals, and I even tried to throw in a few new ones.

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I ended the game before they did for several reasons. One, it was HOT and we had been out there some time, two, I did not want to completely wear them out and, three, so they would look forward to playing it again!