Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Project 36 of many. . .

The projects are few and far between these days. And while they still get accomplished, they seem small compared to the handbags and tables I used to churn out in a manner that now seems impossible. I still get a lot done, but in the words of my aunt I've had to learn to "sit on my hands" otherwise family and home suffers greatly. I don't make posts anymore about projects that I've accomplished around the house - sometimes a post gets put on facebook. Most of my "projects" these days have minds of their own anyway.

Well, today I am breaking the silence. . . with the 36th documented project.  Yesterday, I used four pieces of scotch tape to fix the mini blinds that I fell into in a half sleeping stupor and broke. I won't lie - it had been on my list of "to do's" for about a week and it made me feel quite accomplished.

Also, I really dislike mini blinds -- I might be able to write an entire essay on why they are one of the worst consumer products available. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

DIY: Fitted Prefold

The other day while perusing Pinterest, yah know, like ya do when you are having bon bons and sipping champagne in your sparkling clean, quiet home -- I came across some fitted prefolds. I thought they might address some issues we have with cloth diapering.

Our babiest is a very wiggily little man and keeping my newspaper fold from going all wonka is seriously difficult -- plus, the diaper liner always seems to move around no matter how I fold the diaper... and we know what that gets us.

But, I have three boys and the thought of spending an entire day doing a complicated looking prefold revamp seemed out of the question. I also didn't like the idea of adding another piece of elastic to my kid's legs - it's already bulky enough down there, and that elastic isn't keeping any wetness out - that's what my Flip is for.

Then I had an "ah hah!" moment and this method popped into my head. It. Is. So. Simple. No joke, under 5 minutes, and I'm not talking about a concentrated 5 minutes. I am talking about five minutes while having a baby on your leg and getting sucked into whatever episode of Daniel Tiger (Isn't he just the best?) is on.

You will need:
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Marking pencil (I used a purple crayon the first time)
  • Prefold
  • A threaded sewing machine

The smaller seam allowance, and cut line, on the "bottom" side of the diaper allows for added width to cover more bum.

These work so much better for my little boy than the regular prefolds did. I have used these prefolds for 4 years and wish I had done this 4 years ago! The diaper fits so much trimmer, the diaper liner lays flat and does not shift around and my son doesn't get weird marks on his skin from where strange folds in the diaper pressed into him. The best part? These work really well with my snappies. Before I transformed my prefolds I was really having to stretch the snappy to make it work and with any more gains we were going to have to switch to a different diaper type.
If you wanted you could zig zag across all your raw edges before sewing what ends up becoming the center seam of the diaper, and then leave the "pocket" open and stuff another prefold in there at night or for long trips.
What do you use? Let me know if this works for you or if you have any questions.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

bumGenius, ruffle, diaper covers

A girl. I never got one. The desire for cute girlie things will not subside within me! I have piles and piles of cute girl fabrics -- and have finally found a use for them! I  have started to embellish bumGenius diaper covers. It's a great way for me to relax and feel like I am accomplishing something after a day of cleaning up the same messes over and over again :) I've got them over in my Etsy store

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jacob: 1 year old

We found out that Jacob was a anemic at our 1 year check up. He had not grown in weight or height since 9 months, but, his head circumference had followed its same growth pattern so the doctor ruled out a lack of growth hormone. Everything else about him was fine, he was meeting all of his milestones. . .didn't have loose stool or was vomiting all the time. . .but, his finger prick revealed low iron and a lead level of 6.9 (CDC guideline is it must be under 10, doc likes it around 3). So we went and got some more extensive blood draws done, and because I am crazy I requested that Jonathan and Levi get them as well . . . what an experience.

Of course, Jacob woke up from his nap that day vomiting and having loose stool, so, I was sure the end was near. Then I started talking to family and it turns out that everyone I had seen over the weekend all thought they were having food poisoning. I have never been so thankful for the flu!

The next morning I had two missed calls from the doc's office, one at 4am, and one at 8am...that's always a good sign.

We scheduled an appointment with hematology at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, and had more blood drawn. Then I spoke with the doc and she told me that Jacob was severely anemic and that if his levels dropped anymore that he might start having system failures and that it was also going to make it very hard for him to get over the flu. So, we ended up getting a blood transfusion that afternoon. I have decided that blood transfusions are my favorite kind of "medicine," sans the 5 times they had to poke Jacob to find a good vein. They finally found one in his foot that worked.

We are hoping that this is all that was needed to help Jacob start growing again. Up until 6 months old I thought that Jacob was going to be my darkest child. Then he started getting more and more pale. With our history of long lasting jaundice in the family I figured he had just had some lingering around giving him that Italian glow, and that he was going to be pale. 6 Months is also when most babies start eating real food, foods that have iron in them. Jacob was not ready to eat real food at 6 months and was almost exclusively breastfed until he was 9 months old. I did not give him an iron supplement, my reasoning was that supplements were not well absorbed into the body. Plus, my other kids hadn't needed them.

Jacob wasn't the other kids though. I think Levi consumed his first t-bone around 5 months, and both he and Jonathan were full term, so they got that extra dose of iron from my body in their last few weeks in there. Plus, their mom wasn't endurance training, which takes even more iron out of her body and I assume passes less of it through breast milk.

So, we are now almost back to our normal chipper self, really I think the only reason Jacob has been lethargic and not his normal self is because of the flu. Jacob is an incredibly happy baby, so, I am not sure when I would have noticed that something was wrong with him.

We are taking iron supplements now and follow up with the doctor in 6 weeks. We are also going to go to an allergist and see what food allergies he has and if there are some malabsorption problems (I am sure there are). We will also be drinking a lot of bone broth.

At one year Jacob weighs 18lbs 13oz and is 29.24" long. He as 5lb 3oz at birth and 19" long. He had brown hair then and blonde hair now.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Project 35 of many. . .

With 3 kids the projects are getting fewer and further between. In fact, when we moved to St. Louis this summer I purposefully left almost all of my project material behind. I am sitting on my hands for a season so that I can focus on the more important project. . . my 3 boys! It is a project that spirals out of control very quickly.

The other morning before anyone else was up, (and, this never happens. I usually get out of bed at least 5 minutes after my kids have woken up.) I was reading a book about how important it is to teach your kids to use the left and right sides of their brains. It was going along pretty well, I felt like I was about to learn something major. Then I don't know what happened. I had a roll of paint tape in my hands all of a sudden and had masked off a section of the wall in my dinning room. The kids woke up, and the masked wall stayed blank for a couple of weeks. This week I finally let the kids have at it.

Honestly the project turned out way better than I could have hoped. I gave the boys 3 paint colors and let the colors mostly dry before introducing another color. My favorite thing about this is that I love abstract art, but Kyle does not- but, he likes this! Why? This is not abstract to our kids, it is as real as it gets for them! To hear Jonathan talk about his art is hilarious! I think we are going to have him write out an artist statement. Ha!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Where is your victory?

I laid Benjamin in the ground 3 years ago today. I remember walking up to the grave and feeling like their was no way I could ever let that coffin go, no way I could ever place it in the ground. Part of me had died and I couldn't let it go.

When I think back to that day the thing that strikes me as most bizarre is that I did not take the day off from work. I taught my class in the morning, came home, went to the cemetery, said goodbye to you, and then somehow thought it necessary that I go back to work  and teach my evening class.

I spent the day before Jacob was born lying on the cold, hard cement floor at work because every ounce of energy had drained from me and my entire body felt like it was burning up. I was working two jobs at the time. Right after Jacob was born I quit one of my jobs, but kept the other. It seemed good for me to keep it at the time, even though I didn't need that job for us to survive. Now I just wonder. . . what was I thinking? I had two kids at home and another in the hospital, surely they needed me more than my students.

In May I became a stay at home mom. Deciding not to work was a very hard choice, there were lots of tears involved and I felt like a failure. I felt like I should be able to do it all. You know, work 25 hours a week, make 3 meals a day, garden, sew cute crafts for people, educate my kids, be a wife, work out, relax, drive kids to swim lessons, read my Bible, journal, and take showers, and clean the house. Even now part of me looks at that list and thinks, "Okay, why couldn't you do all that, Caitlyn? It's not that much stuff."

But it was. It was too much stuff. And, I can't do it. So, now I stay home with my 3 bouncing boys and wonder how I ever did it all. I wonder why it took so long for me to bury the part of me that couldn't rest.

Benjamin dying was a life changing event. Jacob coming 7 weeks early and spending 7 weeks in the hospital was a life changing event. Part of me felt like it was dying each time those things happened. But, the biggest life changing event that has taken place was when I decided to kill my career and stop doing all those things that can seem so important at the moment.

I've heard over and over again my entire life not to "bury your talents in the sand." Moms, don't feel bad if you have to do that in order to raise your kids right and love your husband. I am focusing on the bigger picture. God made me a mom, I believe He is more interested in my weaknesses than my "talent." My weaknesses are 29, 3, 2, and 1/2 years old. God is about relationships and family. My resume is going to have a huge hole in it, my sewing machine will gather dust, my wool collection will probably be eaten by moths. And, I will be the better for it. Who would have ever thought that when you stop living for yourself that EVERY single aspect of your life would get better.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Child 4 of many....part 1

Although, I think I'd like the rest will be born by another woman.

Early in our pregnancy we found out that Jacob's umbilical cord was inserted into the bottom of my placenta instead of coming out if the middle like it is suppose to. We were told that this could lead to preterm labor.  I don't think either of us were too concerned; in my mind all of my children had this same problem in utero and I simply hadn't heard about it because I had not gone to a specialist with them like I had been with this child. 

At 31 weeks pregnant I remembered that Levi had gotten his shoulder a little stuck on my pelvis on his way out and asked the doctor about this. He said that we would talk about it at my next visit when Levi was not throwing a fit because he'd gone without a nap.

At my next visit he talked about birth weight and told me there was a fairly significant chance that if Jacob went to term that he would probably be bigger than Levi - so there was a chance of him getting even more stuck. Which is big deal when he might not handle labor well because of the marginal insertion of the umbilical cord. Then the doctor proceeded to me that in the last week my amnion and chorion had started to separate and could be seen hanging and floating in my uterus. This was another sign that we might have preterm labor.

He suggested that we plan a c-section around 39 weeks. I was terrified. I wanted baby to be safe obviously but then there were all those what if questions. In the end I think what we had decided was that we would have a cesarean if it looked like he was going to be a big baby and went to term, and would try natural if he was preterm, opting for a cesarean if baby was in distress. 

On New Years days I felt terrible. No energy, light headed, my arms felt as if they weighted 500 lbs, I was burning up and my heart would race if I walked for more than a few minutes. So, of course I went to work. Around 1, I realized that I had been feeling better but that baby was not moving. So I went over to labor and delivery to get checked out. Of course baby started moving around within about 10 minutes of getting hooked up to the monitor. I was not contracting and they let me go. 

The next day around 3:30 I realized that I was spotting and possibly having light contractions. My doctors office was about to close so they said I could go to labor and delivery if I wanted to get checked out because baby wasn't moving too well...baby was moving well, but I went anyway. I was pretty sure I was having contractions and leaking fluid at this point. The fetal monitor was not picking up contractions, then they moved it and low and behold I wasn't crazy! They described what was on the monitor as "irritable uterus." They did a test to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid, I was no; nor was I dilated. They discharged me around 6 and I went home.

I was still having contractions but had been told that it wasn't labor- rather that irritable uterus, so I tried to ignore them... They went away until about 10pm when they started to get stronger. I laid down, they didn't go away and were getting more painful. I practiced my breathing and was eventually able to fall asleep around 11- despite on going contractions. I think I woke up at 12:30 in the middle of a horrible contraction. I quickly realized that I was bleeding actively again. I laid in bed for awhile feeling stupid about wanting to go back to labor and delivery, but at the same time my contractions were so bad that I thought just maybe it wasn't "irritable uterus." I called doc, he told me I should go back to the hospital. By this point I  was laying on the ground, rocking back and forth with contractions and shaking compulsively and trying to decide if I could drive myself to the hospital. Kyle decided that I could not and we made it to labor and delivery around 1 am.

Contractions we hard, short and right on top of one another, I was 4.5 cm dilated. They tried to stop labor, but half an hour later I was 5.5, and then six, and then talking to a neonatologist and being wheeled into a delivery room. I am still thinking the baby will be born in February because they forgot to tell me they had stopped trying to halt labor. I started bleeding a lot at some point, it felt like my sac of waters had popped, but it was just blood. They said my placenta was most likely rupturing because of how strong, sharp, short and close together my contractions were. They gave me something mild for pain, said if I needed more that I would have to have an epidural. At this point I think I had realized that maybe I was going to have a baby. With the medicine the contractions still had a lot of pressure, but did not hurt as bad. That lasted for 4 contractions. They checked me again, I was still 6. All this time they baby is doing really well, heart rate dipping a little, but at all the right times and doing what it was suppose to.

I decided that I was not going to have a mentally and physically traumatizing birth.  I had no idea what was going to happen, but come what may I was not going to feel it. So I signed for an epidural while the anesthesiologist finished up on someone else. I was 6.5. They prepped me, I'd already had my fluids so they could go right in with the epidural. 1st contraction- cleaning my back, 2nd getting needle in and testing meds on me,  time in between- oh maybe I have to push, and a quick check, "you are ten", third contraction begins- laying down as he finishes securing the tape "be careful it may still fall out." Height of 3rd contraction, "I have to push!" The nurse telling me not to- not pushing, but baby comes out anyway and is caught by the bed. Nurse quickly picks him up and puts him on the warm bed, I am thinking "I just had a baby, he is crying. That is good. How did he get over there without my umbilical cord being cut?"  Blood everywhere. Pools on floor, spots on curtains and walls, up to elbows on nurses arms. Now there are four people in the room, then 10. "Oh my gosh, I feel so much better, that epidural worked fast." I never actually got the epidural, my adrenaline and oxytocin kicked in hard and fast unlike I have ever experienced before.  Kyle on the other hand looked like he might pass out.

"Baby's umbilical cord was detached at birth" I hear, "you got it clamped right away?"  "Yes." 
Everyone was everywhere. Doctor pulling out my placenta. Talk of a blood transfusion for me.  Neonatologist telling me my baby will poop my own blood that he ingested, and that that is perfectly "normal" as is the blood that he is bubbling up through his tiny perfect lips. Kyle takes a picture and shows him to me, "his hand has an 'M'" I think, "probably no Down syndrome (there was a 1 in 25 chance)" I felt like I was the eye in the middle of a hurricane, calm, alert and "yeah, this is all normal, it is all okay."
I held baby for a minute or two and then they took him to NICU.

The flurry if activity was gone as quickly as it had come. I was alone. I'd been in the hospital for about 3.5 hours.  I think I cried then.