Week 8 – February 20 – 26, 2012

Week 8 – February 20 – 26, 2012

Monday, February 20:  Henry and I went for a walk. I was not in the mood or prepared to be outside for very long.  It was a beautiful day.  Henry was excited to be outside. We took the dogs with us. Henry wanted to go all the way around the field. I tried to convince him that we should walk towards the woods and walk up the path in the woods. He told me, “You go that way. Me go this way!” And he did! He walked (actually ran) all the way around the cornfield and met me along the woods.  I don’t have a cute photo of him acting like such a big boy because I didn’t expect us to be outside for very long.

Tuesday, February 21:   We went to the library to visit Aunt Susie.

Wednesday, February 22:  I finally finished my post titled Baby in Belly – Almost There.  It has taken me a while to finish this post because I was waiting for the right words and photos to use.  I like to keep my posts positive, short and sweet.  This one was a bit challenging.

Thursday, February 23:  We went to the feed mill today.  I am thankful they load my car with the feed.  I have a wonderful husband that carries these 90 pound bags downstairs to the chicken coop.   I probably won’t be doing this job until May or June.  This is almost enough feed to last me another month.

Friday, February 24:  In the morning Henry and I went to my appointment with my midwives.  Henry drew this picture of Jane, one of the midwives, whose nickname is Tree.   Henry says both figures are of Jane.  I think his drawing is very accurate of her long and loving arms that hug me each time I see her.  And the arms that caught him when he was born into this world. 

(Note: first drawings by Henry of a person.  He put eyes, mouth, arms and legs on his drawing.  Age 35 months old)

 

My sister Kayla had a day off from her nursing job and came for a visit and to help me with my cleaning list.  She swept and mopped all my floors, vacuumed my stairs, washed many windows, helped me put my clean curtains back up and helped me fold and put away many baskets of clothes.

Thank you, Kayla!

Saturday, February 25:   We had our last day of the Youth Ski Program today.  This is the day we have a potluck meal, usually ski a special loop and I give the kids a medal.  Since the snow conditions were so poor I didn’t plan a special trail for them to ski.  I really expected us to hang out in the chalet and eat all the yummy food.  Everyone that showed up was ready to ski.

Sunday, February 26:   I decided that I need to get something done in my sewing room.  I have many unfinished projects! 

One project that was started about six years ago – my living room valances.  We have lived with two of the four valances up on the windows.  

Two weeks ago Jack took the curtains down to wash them.   I decided I wouldn’t put them back up until the other two valances were finished.  Since Kayla was here looking for things to do I had her put the clean ones up for me.  This meant that I needed to get the unfinished ones done ASAP!   Earlier in the week I found the bag with the unfinished curtains in my sewing room.  When I actually got the pile of fabrics out today to iron and finish I was pleased to find that I had to sew only one of the valances.  The third valance was finished!  Maybe because the living room would have looked silly with three out of the four valances up.

Today I finished the fourth valance and all the tie-backs.

 

While I was using my old Kenmore sewing machine I had my Husqvarna embroidery sewing machine working on a flower for a bag that I have wanted to finish for a long time.

 

While the flower was being embroidered (because the flower took many hours) I was also able to make this baby (bear) carrier for Henry.

I need to trim the straps so they aren’t so long on him.

Baby in Belly – Almost There

Baby in Belly – Almost There

I haven’t been feeling as positive lately with my emotions or physically. I am hesitant to start this post in fear that this will be full of complaining and whining.

I feel like since my last post about my pregnancy I used up all my positive energy and I have taken a downward spiral to the bottom of the earth.  I want this baby out so I can get going with giving birth, my recovery and my life back to normal.  There is a slight problem with this; I don’t know what normal will be with four children and right now is too soon to have this baby on the outside!

The reasons for this:

I have no energy, no patience and no appetite!
I have been sleeping and lying around a lot.
The snow conditions are horrible for me and the boys to play in.
I have a horrible cold, cough and my voice is gone.
I have felt like a bad mother and wife.                                                                               Recently I have had a lot of Braxton Hick contractions.

Because of these things, our life has led to this:

A really trashed house, not so healthy meals and Jack doing some of the cooking.
We have had very little physical activity outside.
There has been too much movie watching for kids.
We have very wild and naughty boys (due to the above reasons!).
Thankfully, my voice is gone because I can’t scream like I want to and my swear words can’t be heard.

I was able to meet with my midwife when the Braxton Hicks contractions were happening frequently.  I was very nervous not knowing if they were the real ones or the practice ones.  She reassured me everything was okay, sent me home with Black Haw drops to take and permission to not over do it and to take it easy.  I haven’t needed the Black Haw and the Braxton Hicks contractions have stayed away for over two weeks.  I still have a few Braxton Hicks contractions each day, but this is completely normal!

I have been taking it easy and am slowly trying to catch up on things around the house.  When I was lying around a lot it was hard not to worry about things and feel panic with every little movement or feeling in my belly.  So one day I spent time in my sewing room.  I felt better because I actually was doing something and my mind was distracted.  I am starting to think of the things I need to do to prepare my home and my bedroom for a home birth.   My home birth supplies were ordered this week from Radiant Belly

The root cause of some of my troubles:

I figured out this week that some of my emotional instability has come from realizing the end of my last pregnancy is near.  I really don’t want this baby to come out any sooner than April.  This is my last pregnancy and an end to one of the many stages in motherhood.  Thinking about never ever being able to have another baby grow inside my belly makes me very very sad!  (Thanks, Jessie for helping me realize this)

I love being pregnant! 

I love my midwives and will miss seeing them regularly.

I love the amazing things that go on inside with every stage of my baby’s development.

  I love watching my belly grow. 

I love feeling the baby moving.

I love thinking about what this baby will look like, what kind of personality this baby will have, and how this baby will change the dynamics in our family.

I love the conversations I have with our three boys about this baby and hearing what is on their mind.  And I try to imagine the look of love that will be on their faces when they first meet our new baby.

I love the comments I get from my friends and even strangers about looking beautiful.  Because I feel beautiful, most days.

 I love it when Jack’s Grandma Elma encourages me to have a second helping of food because “you are eating for two!”

  I love watching the numbers on the scale get bigger, knowing that they will go back down again.

I love the adventure and challenge of labor and giving birth.

I love holding my new-born baby in my arms for the very first time.

I love breastfeeding my babies.

  And last but not least, I love not having a period.

Things are starting to look up:

We have gotten a little snow to keep my Saturday ski class going and we now have some man-made snow on our trails.  I skied last week for the first time in over a week, at Henry’s pace.  At least I had skis on! 

And again on Saturday morning trying to keep up with Robbie and Charlie and friends.  I took a short cut to get in front of them for this photo.

 

Movie watching only happens on the weekends.  The older boys have been listening better, reading more, playing with Legos and doing more jobs around the house.

A high light of my week was a visit from Aunt Susie! 

 

As I was struggling putting my socks on one morning, Henry said to me, “Yours belly is full! You can’t get anymore food, candy and medicine (he means vitamins)!”

I am getting to bed early (before 10:00) and I am feeling more rested every day.  It disgust me to wake up on my own before my alarm goes off at 5:30!

I saw my midwives last week.  They understood my frustrations and annoyances with everyone and everything in my life at that time.   They also opened my eyes to some wonderful home remedies to work on this cold and cough.  I saw improvements within 24 hours!  And now my cold is gone.  My voice isn’t back 100%. My voice has improved enough that I have had to stop swearing.

Once my cold symptoms were gone my energy level came back.

My patience has come back.

The baby’s head is down, for now, but facing the wrong way.  I am doing some exercises that will help turn the baby around.   I will see my midwives at the end of the week to see if there is any change in the baby’s position.

My blood pressure is good, I am measuring very close to number of weeks I am and my weight gain is around 20 pounds.

My home visit with the midwives will be scheduled for sometime next month.

Week 7 – February 13 – 19, 2012

 Week 7 – February 13 – 19, 2012

Monday, February 13:  I sold many bars of my home-made soap today to a friend. I had three different kinds: Patchouli & Orange, Lavender & Lemongrass, and April Flakes (Lavender & Lemongrass essential oils made with snowflakes from last April’s late snow fall and lavender petals).

 

I have been fighting a cold and a cough since November.  My voice hasn’t sounded normal since then.  Over the weekend it seemed to come back, only for Monday to come around giving me a runny nose again.  My voice is still scratchy and I am coughing, but my cold seems to be gone.  One of the reasons I attribute that to is the garlic cloves that I ate for two days. 

I found a few helpful sites on the web about the benefits of garlic (this could be a blog post all by itself):

 Fighting Colds & Flu Naturally with Garlic

Cold Remedies Using Garlic and Honey

Treating a yeast infection with garlic

Tuesday, February 14:  Jump Rope for Heart – Charlie’s gym class.

 One of the cutest home-made Valentines I have seen!

Wednesday, February 15: Jump Rope for Heart – Robbie’s gym class.

 Henry will need absolutely no convincing when it is time for him to go to school.  I think he enjoyed gym as much as Robbie and Charlie!

 Aunt Susie came for a visit and dinner.

 

Thursday, February 16:  Henry and I skied with some friends who were faster than us.  We had to turn around before they were done.  This gave Henry a chance to check out the snow making machine. 

Friday, February 17:  I finished this baby quilt this week.  I am calling it Grandma’s Flowers.  I made this quilt with my new sewing machine that I purchased with the help of the money left to me by my step-grandma after she passed away.  The flowers are a straight stitch done with the embroidery feature on my sewing machine.  There are two irises, three daffodils and two poppies on this quilt.

Saturday, February 18:  Despite the warm weather and lack of snow fall this winter I am thankful we are still able to ski with the youth ski program on Saturday morning. 

We have had some help keeping snow on the trails with the cold temps at night, shade from the trees and most importantly the man-made snow.  Thanks to my friend Phil for making it and my friend Mary (Phil’s wife) for not getting mad at him for staying up all night and being worthless for a couple of days after his all nighter!

This was the first day I allowed the kids to use ski poles.  From what I have read it is easier for young kids to learn to ski without poles.  My main concern with poles is that they can be dangerous with young beginner skiers.  If you have seen the “pile ups” of kids crashing into each other, like I have, you would understand.

Some kids were excited to use them and some choose not to.   These girls were naturals and pretty fast with poles.  Robbie was able to keep up with them without poles.  He tells me poles are too much work.

Sunday, February 19:  My family got together today to visit in Middleton with my sister, Danna, who is currently living in MT (she is home for a week interviewing at UW-Madison).  We also gathered to see Ben off to Afghanistan.  Ben is my sister Becca’s boyfriend.  He will leave on February 23rd to get ready for his trip to Afghanistan.  Please help us pray that he will be safe during his time there!

Week 6 – February 6 – 12, 2012

Week 6 – February 6 – 12, 2012

Monday, February 6:  I went to a friend’s house to learn how to make this Mei Tai baby carrier.   My friend’s friend makes custom baby carriers, Andrea’s business is called Dream Carrier Threads (click here to go to her website).

 

Tuesday, February 7:  I didn’t do anything today except some quilting and taking this photo of Henry in the leopard vest I started before Christmas.  I didn’t finish it until sometime in January.  This vest was just copied from a fleece vest, no pattern necessary (I don’t follow directions very well).  I made it for him and big enough for him to grow into.  The boys crawl around the floor and pretend to be certain animals and Henry is always a leopard.  I made it reversible.

Wednesday, February 8:   We spent most of the day in Stevens Point.   Since I don’t have any photos from today this is where I will insert Henry’s photos from this week…

  

 

 

Thursday, February 9:  I spent all of today in my PJs.  I napped in the morning next to Henry while he watched a movie.  Then we made a double batch of our home-made laundry soap.

 I quilted by the fire.   And took an afternoon nap with Henry. 

I also spent a little time in my sewing room working on some projects and finally organized my embroidery threads I bought in December.  Last week Jack mounted the thread holder on the wall next to my sewing table.

I was still quilting and sitting around in the evening.

 

Friday, February 10:  This morning we were surprised by the new snow.  I have stopped looking at the weather only to be disappointed by the lack of snow in the forecast.  So when this snow arrived it was a happy day for all of us!

Henry and I stayed in the house most of the day.  I did some quilting and I was able to finish my cloth basket by putting blue handles on it.  (Thanks, Lynn for the idea!)

 

Saturday, February 11:  Charlie’s 500 piece puzzle was started a week ago.  We all worked on it and the final piece was put in place this morning!

 

Sunday, February 12:  I bought a good amount of this bright paper at Goodwill earlier this month for the purpose of making our own Valentines.  We hardly put a dent in the pile of paper.  It was much cheaper than buying those silly pre-made ones from the store.

Henry and I made these Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies while we worked on the valentines.  Click here to get the recipe.

 

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life)

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of the reasons why I grow zucchini. I shred it with my cheese grater and freeze them in 1 cup amounts.

I usually make a double batch because our boys love them so much.  And so do I!

When I double the recipe it seems like there are too many chocolate chips. Is that really possible?

(Makes about two dozen)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.
1 cup white flour (I add 1/2 c more flour)
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes.

To see other recipes from her book click here.  If you haven’t read her book you should! It is one of my favorite books!

Baby quilts

Baby quilts

I have been struggling trying to find a quilt design to make for our fourth baby.

Robbie’s baby quilt: Bears and balloons (completed before he was born)

quilt bears & balloons Robbie

I liked the idea of using Bears as a theme for Charlie’s quilt and I found this one: Bears and bow ties in Playful Patchwork Projects .

  

 I started this before Charlie was born and completed by his second birthday.  I loved the idea of using the same fabric as what was in Robbie’s. The ruffles were added instead of a binding because he always needed to hold onto the ruffles on my quilt when he nursed to sleep.

quilt bears with bows Charlie

Then we decided to have a third baby, Henry.

I found another bear design. The original quilt design was made out of flannel in bright girly tie-dye colors. I wasn’t interested in that. Since I already knew that Henry was a boy.

Henry’s quilt: Bears with huge hearts.   I started Henry’s quilt when he was 1.5 years old and completed when he was 2.5 years old.

quilt bears with hearts Henry

My idea was to put fabric prints in the heart spot of the things he loves.  I ran out of the pink, blue and yellow fabrics used for the older boys’ quilts. I hated making this quilt.

Now we have a fourth baby on the way.  I am having a difficult time figuring out what to do next.   I don’t feel the need to follow the Bear theme.   I would like to have a good start on this quilt before this baby arrives this spring.  I have my doubts that I will have any time for sewing once we have four children!

I recently shared some ideas in a past post.  Now I think I am ready for a vote from my friends and family!

This was my inspiration for a scrap quilt because I have tons of scraps to use came from this pattern of a table runner: 

I have spent a few hours sewing strips together, ironing and cutting out squares.  Now that I have it laid out I am not happy with how it is looking.  It looks nothing like a baby quilt to me.  I could see these squares made into bags or with more squares added it would be a nice lap quilt.   I did have fun using up all these scraps!

“Scraps Squares”

Until today I was ready to give up on this project. And sew like crazy on other fun things that I have been working on or want to make. Because if I have a girl I may want to make something really pretty with purple fabrics and if I have a boy I could make a definite “boy” quilt.

 

 The winner of the vote is:

This Bear quilt I found this one at http://natteringssmattering.blogspot.com/2011/06/tumbling-teddy-bears-latest-baby-quilt.html:

“Tumbling Bears”

Charlie’s Legos

Charlie’s Legos

Charlie loves Legos.  He is always creating amazing things with Legos.  We took this picture a while ago.  After taking the picture he asked if he could write something on the computer for the internet.  I think he meant that he wanted to post it on my blog (like I do with just about everything).

Here is what he typed with very little help from me and no help from the computer’s spell check:

“I  love  legos  and   like to bild  lego   and  bild  with  my    papa.

And    I  love   to   bild   cars   and    I   like   to   bild   anything

with     legos   and   that is the end”

Here are other creations by Charlie over the last few months:

Charlie got this set for his birthday and put it together with a little help from Papa.

Charlie’s 6th birthday cake request was for a Lego cake with one of his own designs on the top.

 This is the largest piece Lego set that he has worked on.

 Robbie and Charlie with their Christmas presents completed.

 The Lego table was brought out into the middle of the living room for better lighting.  Charlie was looking at a book on how to make wooden toys and found something he could make with Legos (notice the book propped up in the Lego box).

The Lego guy that was inspired by the wooden toy book.

 Charlie can build anywhere!

 A cross-country ski built out of Legos!

When Charlie went to kindergarten he was in heaven once he found out that his teacher had a huge box of Legos in her classroom.

Week 5 – January 30 – February 5, 2012

 Week 5 – January 30 – February 5, 2012

Monday, January 30:  We have had some very warm temperatures lately.  The boys’ Green Bay Packer Snowman may end up melting much sooner than we thought.  Henry was the one that noticed that his number was gone and that he was melting.

 

Tuesday, January 31:  We went skiing with friends today.  Henry had the motivation to try to keep up with a very fast 5-year-old boy and an almost 4-year-old.

 

Henry skied for over a half hour following those two boys and then it was time for a sled ride and a snack.

I tucked the camera in the sled with Henry.  Later I found many photos on the camera from the view of inside the sled.   My butt being one of them!

 

Wednesday, February 1: We met friends in Point today at the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum

 

Thursday, February 2:   I needed some rest after the last two days’ activities.  I had my book club book on CD (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) and some quilting to do.   Henry seems to enjoy it also because he asks me “turn your music on.” 

Henry thinks he should take photos of my activities too.

 

I guess our Green Bay Packer snowman lost his status of “The Mater Piece” after a lot of melting.  Because the boys decided to destroy him with their swords.

 

Friday, February 3:  My friend Kat and our two little boys took a hike and planted some candy canes on the trail for my Saturday ski class.  On our way back to the chalet the groomer caught up with us in the Piston Bully.  He was kind enough to give the boys a ride.  Once Henry saw a ride was in his future he ran as fast as he could!

 

Saturday, February 4:  The treasure hunt for the kids wasn’t too exciting.  The skiing conditions are so poor.  We have so little snow and what we have is very icy.  So everyone hiked in their winter boots. 

In the evening the boys participated in the Iola Twilight Snowshoe race with a couple of friends.

 

Sunday, February 5:  I was experiencing contractions on Wednesday and a little bit on Thursday (the reasons for me not cooking dinner and the dishes, not sweeping the floor, not doing laundry, going to bed by 7:30, sitting around quilting, and listening to my book on CD).   When I hiked around to plant the candy canes on Friday morning the contractions came back.  I was nervous about this and hopped that they were just Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions). 

I never really experienced the Braxton Hicks contractions with the other boys so I wasn’t sure.  It seemed odd that I would have many in a day when I did the littlest tasks.   I called Jane, my midwife, after our short hike.  She was able to see me within five minutes of my call.  She confirmed they were only Braxton Hicks contractions and that nothing was progressing on the inside.  

 Jane sent me home with Black Haw and instructions to take 15-20 drops three times a day.  The purpose is to relax my uterus and stop or minimize the contractions.  And it worked!  I went from at least two Braxton Hick contractions every hour to two per day. 

 Jane also told me to “not over do it.”  If she would have come to my house she would know that I am not over doing it!