Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Maggie is 13 weeks old!

Hard to believe my little princess is 3 months old already. We had a wonderful Christmas with the boys, even if Maggie slept through most of it. She has rolled over several times now so if she had more uninterrupted floor time my guess is she would be rolling all over the place. She and daddy both have survived my first night back at work so that is a relief to all of us. We'll be working on finding new routines with the new year with Grandma and Grandpa heading home tomorrow and mommy back at work full time.  I'm really glad that Maggie did well her first nigth without me because it makes going back to work much less stressful.

I finished Lynn's Christmas shawl in time for Christmas and I think it came out nicely even if it wasn't that much of a surprise for her. The compromise of getting it done in time for Christmass meant that I had to knit it while she was around.  I was hoping to keep the final result a bit of a secret so when I blocked it out I did it in the basement but then she went down there to do a load of laundry- dope! Oh well I think she likes it! I also made a Little Pearl Vest for a baby gift for a friend who is due in January. It came really pretty and I just have to find a button and block it.  I think I might have to make on of these for Maggie but in a much bigger size! Since I got floated at work last night I was also able to finish a matching hat and I am going to try to eek out a pair of booties.  Here's hoping I have enough yarn!

With all the goings on of Christmas I haven't had much time to read. I'm still reading The Catholic Home but somehow it has gotten misplaced under piles of Christmas gifts so I will have to find it back this week. I did pick up All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. I love that book and it is easy to pick up and read just a little bit at a time. It's a great mood lifter, especially if you are a knitter!

Hope to have some Christmas pictures to come in the next few days as we clean and organize and get everything put away. But in the meantime I will leave you with picture of James and Maggie sharing a little bot of Christmas joy, i.e. Maggie fending off James as he shoved one of his presents into her face trying to show it to her. Once he got it out of her face though he was so cute holding his lacing card in her lap showing her how it worked.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maggie is 12 weeks old!

My little princess is 12 weeks old today!  I don't know why this feels like such a milestone for me but it does. It probably has something to do with the fact that at 12 weeks my maternity leave is over and I will be going back to work next week. That is going to be a change for sure.  Somehow with the boys returning to work felt like a bigger challenge than actually bringing baby home. It'll be a little different this time since I am going back to work over the holidays (the joys of being a nurse) so Frank will be home much of the time and his parents are here visiting as well.  The beginning of January will find us trying to learn our new routines.  Maggie is doing awesome.  She is really a lovely and content little girl.  She rolled over last week one time but just the once so hopefully she isn't going to be too precocious. She keeps trying to pull herself up into a sitting position though so I don't imagine it will be long before she is sitting.

I've been working hard on Lynn's shawl for Christmas.  I've almost gotten it done.  I'm finishing up the edge ruffle right now.  It's about 400 stitches long though so it is going really slowly.  I think we may do family gifts Sunday evening since I have to work Monday and Tuesday so I really need to get cracking to get it finished, blocked, and dried by then- ack! Tomorrow night is knitting group so here's hoping I can get it finished with the some dedicated knitting time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Minty Christmas Goodness

I've had several requests for my peppermint bark recipe so I thought I would go ahead and write a whole post about it. First to give credit where credit is due: this is not my recipe... I came upon it though a rather circuitous blogger route several years ago. Call it a recipe passed from friend to friend in blogland! So thank you to Soulemama (check out her peppermint lip balm recipe and you will find her post on peppermint bark) and Molly and Molly's sister Lisa and finally Bon Appetit- where the recipe originated. 
My Ingredients
I have to preface this with the disclaimer that I am a mint lover. I pretty much adore anything mint.  Add mint to chocolate and I am in heaven.  That all being said this is the best peppermint bark I have ever had and absolutely dead easy to make, so all the better. I've introduced some "cheater" options to make it even easier to make. First a few notes:
The first layer ready to be chilled
When buying your white chocolate, make sure that the words “cocoa butter” appear in the list of ingredients. This entire recipe is chocolate so go ahead and splurge- if you try to cheap out on the chocolate you will get an inferior result. This year I used Baker's but I have also used Ghiradelli or Lindt with good success. Molly and Soulemama used callebaut but I haven't been able to get it locally. I highly recommend NOT using candy melts because it just doesn't work well. I have had good luck finding appropriate chocolate in the baking aisle of any local grocery store.
Melting the bittersweet chocolate and mixing in the cream
To crush the peppermints Bon Appétit advises tapping the wrapped candies firmly with the bottom edge of an unopened 15- to 16-ounce can. In the past I used a glass canning jar and that worked too. This year I cut a few more corners and bought a 4.2 oz jar of peppermint crunch from Wal Mart. It was slightly more expensive than just buying the candies but well worth the time saved and way less mess than crushing 60+ mints.
The second layer spread and ready to be chilled
The Recipe:
Three-Layer Peppermint Bark
Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 1998

17 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
30 red-and-white-striped crushed hard peppermint candies (or a 4.2 oz jar peppermint crunch)
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, > 60% cocoa, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. heavy cream or whipping cream (I like heavy cream better)
¾ tsp. peppermint extract

Turn a large baking sheet upside down, and cover it securely with aluminum foil. Measure out and mark a 9- by 12-inch rectangle on the foil.

Put the white chocolate in a metal (or other heatproof) bowl, and set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water. (Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water.) Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth; if you take its temperature with a candy thermometer, it should register 110°F. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Pour 2/3 cup of it onto the rectangle on the foil. Using an icing spatula, spread the chocolate to fill the rectangle. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the bittersweet chocolate, cream, and peppermint extract in a heavy medium saucepan. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator, and pour the bittersweet chocolate mixture over the white chocolate rectangle. Using an icing spatula – make sure you cleaned it after using it for the white chocolate, above! – spread the bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Chill until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm the remaining white chocolate over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour the white chocolate over the firm bittersweet layer, using your (again, clean) icing spatula to spread it to cover. Sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. If you used peppermint crunch then use all of the remaining crunch in the jar. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Carefully lift the foil from the baking sheet onto a large cutting board. Trim away any ragged edges of the rectangle. (These are yours to nibble at, a little prize for your efforts.) Cut the bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slip the bark off of the foil and onto the cutting board. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections, and then cut each section diagonally into 2 triangles. Or, alternatively, just cut each strip into smaller pieces of whatever size you like. That’s what I did.

Pack into an airtight container, with sheets of wax paper between layers of bark to prevent them from sticking to one another. Store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or, to emphasize the slight softness of the bittersweet layer, let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: This bark will keep for up to 2 weeks, if not more. If you plan to pack it in a tin or baggie with other holiday sweets, be sure to wrap it separately in plastic wrap. Or maybe wax paper and then plastic wrap, so that it doesn’t sweat. If you left it naked, so to speak, to mix and mingle with other cookies or candies, everything might wind up tasting and smelling like peppermint. Also peppermints will melt if they sweat too much so keep that in mind.

Yield: about 36 pieces, or more, if you cut them smaller
The final layer on and ready to be chilled
So a little time consuming but easy peasy!  A few things that I have found to be helpful include:
1. Use a double boiler.  I personally have not had good luck with microwaving the chocolate- I get much better, smoother results on the stove top and it's not that much more time consuming. 
2. Be patient. Make sure your layers are really well chilled before adding the next layer and allowing the bittersweet layer really to cool until almost needing to be melted again prevents blending of the chocolates.
3. Once you start spreading work quickly.  It doesn't have to be perfect because each layer gets covered.
4. Use an icing spatula. I didn't have one the first year and I tried to use a knife- not a good idea.  If you don't have an icing spatula buy or borrow one.
5. Use good quality chocolate.  I know I said it already but it really does matter.  Don't use nestle chocolate chips or try to cheap out on the chocolate because it won't be worth eating in the end.
6. Wash everything right away.  And I mean immediately, go from spreading to rinsing in the sink because washing dried chocolate out of your doubler boiler is a pain.
Ready to be gifted- yum!
Eat and Enjoy!  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Maggie is 11 weeks old!

Aren't they precious when they sleep!
Time flies when you are having fun!  I can't believe my baby girl is almost 12 weeks old! She will be baptized this Sunday which I am excited for.  Hopefully the Christening gown will fit- both of the boys were bapized much younger than this but it took us awhile to make arrangements for her Godparents to both be there for this. My return to work is looming and I am alternately looking forward to it and dreading it. It will be nice to use my brain a little more but I will miss all the quality time with he kids. It will be nice to have a paycheck again though.
So after multiple yarn snafus- one of the less exciting parts of ordering yarn online- I finally got yarn to make Lynn's Christmas shawl.  She requested a large, cozy, warm shawl in an off-white for Christmas this year. My initial plan was to use Malabrigo worsted so I ordered it online.  Of course then the place that I ordered it from was out of malabrigo so we switched it to Manos del Uruguay Maxima, which I find it a pretty comparable yarn. Well when the package arrived in the mail it contained 4 skeins of Manos Lace.  Needless to say that wasn't going to work for the project I had in mind.  So I decided to chuck it all and went to my LYS and got some very nice Cascade Lana d'Oro there.  It won't be quite as fuzzy as I had intended but it will be soft and very warm! I making her a Far Away, So Close Shawl by Carina Spencer because I love, love the pattern and it knits ups fairly quickly for a large shawl.  I was on a pretty tough time constraint seeing as she just told me what she wanted at the beginning of the month so I needed to get going on this.

I'm still reading the Catholic Home.  I've gotten through the section on advent which is good since it is applicable now.  The boys have been enjoying putting figures in the nativity scene but they only seem to like putting animals in the barn! Right now I have skipped ahead to the section on Baptism since Maggie's Baptism is this upcoming Sunday.  It will be so nice to welcome her into our Parish community.

Come yarn along with us at Ginny's place.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Naked Chefs...

So the boys and I started on our Christmas baking this week. Tonight we made sugar cookies (star cookies as Xander calls them). I wanted to get everything ready for them before we started so they took their shower first and then planned to help me.  I figured rather than get a whole new set of clothes dirty we'd just have them wear their aprons for baking.  Then they decided they needed to wear their chef's hats and my two naked chefs were born! Tonight we just made the cookies- we'll save the decorating for tomorrow once the cookies have cooled properly. Otherwise the boys try to decorate the cookies fresh out of the oven! So the plan is to decorate sugar cookies tomorrow and then we'll make peppermint bark (my favorite) and peanut butter blossoms (Frank's request).  If I get really ambitious we might make some chocolate chip cookies or some other kind of goody.  Then we'll pack everything up in boxes and deliver it to the boys' teachers and our neighbors. What are your favorite Christmas goodies?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gotta love those chubby cheeks!

Isn't she precious?  Ok , ok I know I am bias but I could just eat her up!  She has the most kissable cheeks ever.  I've been trying to get a video of her cooing and talking but she always seems to quiet down the minute I turn the camera on! Anyway she talks a tiny bit in this video and has some nice smiles.
Apparently overnight she needed her nails trimmed becasue she scratched the heck out of her face in like 2 minutes flat.  She looked a bit like she had been in a bar brawl but they have calmed down some.  I did trim her nails though...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Maggie is 10 weeks old!

Maggie ten weeks old today.  We have had a nice week just getting used to being back at home.  Maggie's nose seems to have cleared up and with the decrease of green boogers we have seen a significant decrease in vomiting.  I really think that her stuffy nose was making her tummy upset. She is back to normal spitting up which is much easier to handle. Last night she even slept through the night!  So far that seems to be a one time occurrence but she has been sleeping for 5 hour stretches so I'm encouraged.  James was such a terrible sleeper that it would be nice to have a baby that sleeps. 
Xander loving on his sister
All in all Maggie is a really good baby.  She does get fussy in the evenings and gets gassy occasionally but really she only cries when she is hungry. She also cries when her brothers try to maul her but I think she is justified in that regard! They love her but sometimes we struggle with understanding that she isn't a doll or that we need to be gentle to her.  They are so used to wrestling with each other that they think they can wrestle with her too. She is getting so much more interactive as the days go on and the boys really enjoy the fact that they can talk to her and she will smile and coo back.  Hopefully that will last once she is big enough to steal their toys!

I'm reading The Catholic Home as recommended by Ginny. We attended a lecture at Frank's parent's church when we were there about Strong Catholic Families/Strong Catholic Youth. This is something that Frank and I have talked a lot about recently.  Being Catholic (or Christian) is more than attending Mass every Sunday and we want to model our faith for our children in a way that they can enjoy and engage in it rather than just being dragged to church every Sunday morning. So this advent season we are celebrating with a Jesse tree and the children each have their own advent calendars as well as a family calendar. It is really nice to sit around the table every night after dinner and listen to Frank read a story and then talk with the kids about the story.  I like having these very short daily conversations with them.  I'm a little behind because we haven't gotten the nativity out yet and we still have some (ok all) of our decorating to do but we are spending time as a family to do it and that it what is really important to us. I'd like to add in little celebrations throughout the year so we'll see what I learn from this book.

On the knitting front I continue to plug away at Maggie's blanket.  It was supposed to be a coming home blanket and then it morphed into a Christmas blanket but at this point I am hoping I finish it before she goes to school and doesn't need a blankie anymore. I go through sections quickly and then I don't seem to be able to find time to work on it for long periods of time so it is coming alone slowly.  It will be further delayed because my mother-in-law has requested a shawl for Christmas so as soon as I get the yarn (on it's way from Webs) I will start working on that. I also have this lovely sweater kit for Maggie that keeps calling my name so I may succumb to some knitting ADD.  I decided pretty much not to knit any gifts for Christmas this year with the baby and all so I'm happy not to be feeling the crunch!

Come yarn along with us over at Ginny's place.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My silly boys

2 boys, a cow, and a laundry basket- who would have though it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maggie is 9 weeks old!

Sweet Maggie is growing like a weed.  She had her 2 month well child visit the other day and weighed in at 12lbs 8 oz which puts her in the 74th percentile for weight. She was 23 inches long which outs her in the 68th percentile for height.  I'm glad she slowed down her growing a little bit though because she has so many cute 3 month clothes that I would hate for her not to be able to wear any of them if she grew too fast. She was a trooper on the way back from Missouri.  Only got fussy once and slept most of the way home.  She is still pretty much projectile spitting at least once a day still but she managed not to do it on the plane. She also still has a nice green boogery nose but she doesn't appear to be sick at all.  Her doctor said it was possible that she could have a sinus infection but it would be highly unlikely in a child of her age especially since she doesn't appear to be sick or have a fever. She doesn't seem to spit up as much if I suck out her nose each night before bed so I guess we'll keep doing that even though she really doesn't like it!  At least her ears looked good so no ear infections yet.

I finished my Multnomah last week. I love how the pattern lends itself to the yarn and it looks very oceany to me.  I wish the shawl were a bit bigger- although I guess I could have made it bigger if I had more yarn.  I did add two extra feather and fan pattern repeats.  It very nicely covers my shoulders but not much else.  Also somehow it doesn't seem to want to stay wrapped around my neck to use like a scarf.  Still it's a lovely little shawl.

 I'm reading Burn by Linda Howard for fun.  Linda Howard is one of my favorite fun reading authors.  Her stories are always interesting, a little unique, and quick reads.  We are also getting ready to celebrate the beginning of advent this year. Frank's mother is here visiting for the month so we'd thought we begin the traditon of the Jesse Tree with the boys.  They are old enough to begin understanding and they enjoy stories. We'll probably combine reading from this book with The Usborne Little Book of Stories from the Old Testament because that book is more in story form as opposed to direct readings from the Bible.

Happy Advent (starting Sunday) and come yarn along with us over at Ginny's place.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Maggie is two months old!

My girl is 2 months old today. We are busily packing and up and getting ready to head home tomorrow so other than running a few quick errands we are having a quiet day at home doing laundry and packing. We aren't leaving until 7pm so the plan is to take the boys to visit Frank's cousin at work.  He is a firefighter so he'll let the boys climb up in the fire truck and check it all out.  They are thrilled to say the least.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Maggie's First Thanksgiving

We celebrated Maggie's first Thanksgiving in Missouri with Frank's family.  We so rarely get to go and spend some quality time out there because of work commitments here in NH.  Since I am currently on maternity leave and Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving fell within consecutive weeks this year we were able to scrounge up 2 whole weeks of vacation time to go and visit the family.  Additionally we managed to score plane tickets for all five of us for less than $1000 so off we went. First thing Thanksgiving morning we went to church and then headed to Troy, Missouri to the home of Frank's Aunt Dot who was hosting this year. Not many people realize but family holidays with Frank's family are a massive affair.  He has 27 first cousins on his mother's side alone, plus aunts and uncles, cousins' spouses and cousins' children. Now not everyone was there of course but it was a pretty packed house. Maggie wasn't actually the youngest baby there- one of the cousins had a week old baby there who was so precious and tiny! Anyway we had a wonderful day with plenty of yummy food and more than enough company!  Yeah for big families... The boys got a little (lot)wound up by the end of the day and pretty much attacked their cousin Sarah- who was a great sport about it all. They fell asleep on the way home thank goodness.
All Smiles!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maggie is 8 weeks old!

Maggie is eight weeks old!
How time flies! I can hardly believe my baby is eight weeks old already and in a few short weeks I'll be back at work. She is doing well overall although the last few days she has been on a truly impressive barfing kick. I don't know if her tummy is upset because of all her post nasal drip from runny nose or it's just an upset tummy but we have had multiple episodes of projectile barfing all over mommy! and daddy and the car seat... Otherwise she is sleeping better at night- only really waking up once to eat right now so that is great! We've had a busy few days visiting family and doing fun things with the boys. Today we are off to the zoo.

I've been working on my knitting although not as much as I thought I might since we are on vacation.  Too much playing with my children to actually have time to knit but at least that is a good excuse  I've gotten through a few rounds of feather and fan on my Multnomah and it is looking really nice.  I carried it all the way to the center stitch though because I didn't like the way the pattern looked with the triangle at the bottom. I also finally had time to pick up a book and am reading some lovely easy reading by Nora Roberts!

Come yarn along with us over at Ginny's place.

Visit to the City Museum

James gleefully throwing balls in the giant pit
 We are having a lovely visit here in MO.  The weather has for the most part cooperated and we have had warm, sunny days. It's not nearly as cold as at home.  The boys have thoroughly enjoyed helping Grandpa feed the cows and riding around the farm on Grandpa's mule.  They were thrilled when he took them to the sale barn last night- what an adventure! They have also been enjoying some serious spoiling on the part of Grandma but hey that's what Grandmas are for, right?  I've had some nice quality time with Maggie while the boys have been off romping and I even left her with Grandma for a few hours so Frank and I could go to a movie. Luckily she took a bottle like a champ and everyone survived- mommy included.

Riding the train
Today we went to the City Museum in St Louis. I'm honestly not sure how to describe this place but it was awesome! Frank has been saying for years when the boys got old enough he wanted to take them and now I understand why. Basically the whole place- all six stories- is a giant maze and climbing structure, including a giant ball pit. We slid down a 10 story slide, rode trains, played in the ball pit, explore caves, drove a firetruck, slid down a whole bunch more slides and generally climbed and clambered all over the place for 6 hours straight. We had a little hiccup in the middle of the day when Maggie decided to throw up all over herself and me.  Luckily she had a change of clothes and mostly she just hit my pants so I was able to sponge them off and continue on, but then of course Xander spilled a full glass of soda everywhere so I spent the middle art of the day pretty wet.  Why I brought an extra change of clothes for myself on the plane for this contingency but didn't think to bring some today is beyond me. Anyway the point being I highly recommend the City Museum if you are ever in St Louis with kiddos- preferably adventurous, maybe slightly older kids than mine.  I'm off to bed because tomorrow we are off to the zoo!

Climbing the outside maze!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maggie is 7 weeks old!

My precious little chub!
 My precious little Magdalen is 7 weeks old today. How time flies! She is smiling a lot these days and every once in a while make the the most wonderful little cooing noises. She is such a chub with the most kissable cheeks.  We went to a meeting at my work yesterday and when I put her on the scale she weighed in at 12lbs 4 oz so she is maintaining her 1/2 lb per week weight gain right now. We are heading to MO today to visit Grandma and Grandpa so that should be fun.  We get to have a nice long visit this year so hopefully we'll get the chance to do some fun things with the boys. Our plan is to go to the St Louis Zoo- so prayers for at least one nice weather day!
We had a minor/major knitting catastrophe this week.  I started on a pair of mittens for Xander and  finished the first one no problem.  I was running short on yarn but I thought I could eke it out. So since I finished the one mitten late at night I left my knitting stuff out on the end table in the living room. Now usually the boys know better than to touch my knitting or my knitting accessories but for some particular reason the next morning when Xander got up he thought it would be a good idea to take my scissors to what remained of the skein of orange. He then proceeded to cut the entire skein into itty bitty pieces. I thought I was going to have a stroke when I went to go pick up the skein the next morning and it all fell apart in my hands. Amazingly he managed to leave a few longer pieces and the orange was just the accent stripe so I was able to piece together a second mitten, but you'll notice one mitten has more of a green thumb b/c I couldn't eke it out that far.  Needless to say I don't think Xander will be touching my knitting again anytime soon since he landed himself in a massive timeout and a ban on all access to scissors for the foreseeable future.
As for reading I did start in on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I've read the entire Outlander series before. I heard that she is coming out with a new book in the series next year and it's been so long since I read them I felt like it would be nice to have a refresher course before I get the new one.  Plus since I have read them before they don't really require my absolute attention in case I get distracted... because that never happens with three small children in the house (please hear the sarcasm dripping).  
I'm yarning along with Ginny again over at Small Things so come and see all the lovely knitting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maggie's first smiles...

My little girl has really started smiling and it's just wonderful!  I couldn't really get a picture so here is a video. Don't mind Xander being a whiny but in the background.  Two seconds before this video HE was the one singing to her!

Maggie is 6 weeks old!

My oldest and my youngest enjoying a quiet moment together
 It's so incredibly hard for me to believe that Maggie is 6 weeks old already!  How time flies... I'm so grateful that my husband has agreed to be dirt poor for the next few months so that I don't have to go back to work for another six weeks! Maggie is growing like a weed- she must weigh at least 12 lbs by now.  She has pretty much outgrown all her newborn clothes and is moving into 3-6 months. Overall she is a really good baby despite being a night owl like her mama! Yesterday she was really cranky in the afternoon and evening but she seems a little better today.  I literally could not put her down yesterday - must be that six week growth spurt. She is starting to give me real smiles now and they just warm my heart.  I'll try to get a picture. She has really amazing head control too. She really can hold her head up without much help or support.

Easy Knit mittens for James- he picked out his own colors!
The other day I realized that winter was truly upon us and I couldn't ignore it anymore! So I dug out all the winter hats and coats etc for the kids.  I had been meaning to make mittens for the boys but hadn't quite gotten to it yet so the other day James and I dug through the yarn stash and dug up some yarn for mittens.  I actually had several 1/2 balls and other colors so I let James chose what he wanted.  First he picked the orange but I didn't have enough to make plain orange mittens so I asked him to pick another color and he picked the tuareg blue. I was skeptical at first but they actually came out cute.  These are seamed since it was the first time I used the pattern I just followed it as written but I am making another pair for Xander that I am knitting in the round.  I had planned on making them last night but hard to knit and hold a crabby baby at the same time so I only got one cuff done.  Today I'm hoping to find some time to work on them. Ravelry details here. I'm still working on my Multnomah but I've just gotten to the lace section so I need some time where I can pay attention to what I am doing before I can move forward.  Once I do the repeat a few times I should be good but I don't want to mess it up in the first few rows.

I haven't found much time for reading yet so we'll have to stick with knitting for now. I'm joining up again with Ginny at Small Things to share the knitting love though.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maggie is 5 weeks old!

Happy Halloween!
I must reiterate how hard it is for me to believe how quickly time is flying by.  My baby girl is a month old already- yikes! I think she is precious and gorgeous and perfect but then again I am a bit bias so... James brought this cute little pumpkin home from school today and it was perfectly Maggie sized so he decided she should hold it for a little while. She is doing really well, eating like a champ and sleeping like a champ even for a 5 week old baby.  She is sleeping a bit better at night- doing at least one 4 hour stretch every night.  It's amazing how when you have a newborn 4 hours of straight sleep feels like a full night and you feel quite rested! She was almost 11 lbs last week so growing like a weed.  So far her first Halloween has been pretty uneventful.  Check out Pumpkin Wars on HGTV tonight to see how we celebrate around here!

I thought I would join up again with Ginny's yarn along.  My work in project Wednesdays have taken on new meaning.... but I'm finally finding time to knit again.  I started a Mulnomah in some gorgeous hand dyed sock yarn I got at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend. I'm liking the pattern so far and I think it will go well with the colorway I am working with. I'm having some trouble with dropping stitches (a lot) but that might have something to do with knitting while nursing and or while being clambered upon by raucous toddlers. I'm also not used to knitting with small needles so I should have a lot of practice by the time I am done with this shawl. I can't wait to get to the feather and fan section. I should be working on Christmas presents but I figured I'd make something for myself instead...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Maggie is 4 weeks old!

It is totally, utterly, completely impossible for me to believe that my baby girl is 4 weeks old already!  Yikes... how did that happen? It has been a week of firsts for Maggie- her first road trip, her first sheep and wool festival, her first staff meeting at mommy's work, her first trip to the YMCA...  She is just starting to really smile, not just farty or in her sleep smiles.  I think a baby smile is just the most wonderful thing.  Her whole face lights up and she has the sweetest dimples. She looks more and more like James as time goes on.  We were looking at baby pictures of  James the other day and when I asked Xander who they were he replied "Maggie!" Good thing she has tons of pink clothes.

I was giving her a bath the other day and as I was bathing her her beautiful baby hair was just coming out in chunks.  I'm so sad.  I knew she would lose the baby hair but watching it just fall out in clumps was really depressing.  I think babies with hair are so cute! I know it will grow back but still... When we were at my work for staff meeting we put her on the scale and she now weighs 10lbs 13oz so she is certainly doing well in that category.  We seem to have found a slightly better groove in terms of sleep at night as she has been consistently sleeping for 3-4 hours.  So all is well in baby land! It's going to be a busy couple of weeks and we seem to have lots of things planned for the next week or so and then in a few weeks we are off to MO for Thanksgiving. I found out that my first day back at work will be December 20th- just in time for Christmas, bummer!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maggie is 3 weeks old!

Time flies when you are having fun.  Miss Maggie is three weeks old already! She is doing really well- we took her for her 2 week follow-up at the doctor and she weighed in at 9lbs 12.8 oz so she certainly isn't being deprived nutritionally.  It looks like she might have a little bit of thrush in her mouth so we'll have to take care of that but otherwise she is a perfect, healthy, fat, chubby baby girl. She is falling in the 80th percentile for height, weight and head circumference right now.  We'll have to see if that trend continues or if she'll be more like her brothers. It explains why she is so quickly growing out of her newborn clothing though- the three month stuff is a little big but not really! We had a nice quiet day at home with the boys but we spent the evening at Margarita's with some of the girls from work. One of my co-workers is leaving so we had a good-bye party for her. It was really nice to spend some time with the girls and Maggie was very well behaved the entire time. James also came with us and he was really good too. We had some really yummy food and good conversation and I had a drink for the first time in like a year! All in all it was a lovely evening.

Mommy and Maggie

Monday, October 15, 2012

Finding our routine....

So I don't know if it because I am getting to be an old fart or because I was so depleted due to all the intestinal issues I was having when she was born or because now I am the mom to three kids, but I have found this recovery to be harder than with the boys.  All things considered Mags is a good baby although she does have a habit of waking up at 4am and taking like 90 minutes to go back to sleep.  So by the time she is back asleep the boys are starting to wake up... so no more sleep for me! Pretty much though she sleeps and she eats and she pees and poops and does all the things a newborn baby is supposed to do. So I guess I feel like I should have been back to my old self sooner but she is almost three weeks old and I am just in the last day or so feeling like a normal human being again instead of a sleepwalking zombie!

Cooking dinner every night seems to be beyond me at this point (thanks goodness for friends/neighbors who have been bringing us food) but every few days I can manage the crockpot. I finally got on top of the never ending rounds of laundry and dishes.  I'm truly amazed at how much laundry I can do and there is always more. Maggie's favorite trick seems to be spitting up on me the second I have changed into clean clothes. I never really used receiving blankets with the boys but I am using a lot with her because she also seems to like pausing in the middle of a feeding and letting the milk just run out of the side of her mouth until she is ready to start sucking again.  I don't complain too much because I am just happy to have plenty of milk for her but she really is a messy eater. Nursing finally seems to be pain free.  I don't remember being sore with Xander and with James I don't remember it taking this long to get better, but thankfully we seemed to have moved passed the toe-curling pain because pumping and bottle-feeding was really starting to sound like a good idea!

My goal is to update the blog with photos and updates at least once a week so I can have a week by week picture diary for Maggie like I did with the boys but we'll have to see how that goes... I still haven't done James' 3 yr well child update and his appointment was over a week ago!  It's coming I promise...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maggie is two weeks old!

Our precious girl is two weeks old! It's hard to believe... It seems like no time at all and yet I can't imagine life without her. I'm still pretty tired overall but things are kinda getting into a routine.  I've survived my first few days with all three kids by myself so that is a step in the right direction. She had her first big outing out to the County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and she did really well and I got to eat my food while it was warm so I'd call it a sucess.

Maggie's sleeper is a Toasty Sleeper- Ravelry link here: A note on this pattern- it is very tiny so if you have bigger babies like I do I would encourage you to increase the stitch count a bit.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maggie's Birth Story

Let me just preface this by saying it includes all the nitty gritty details so read on only if you like the full story!

So Maggie’s birth pretty much didn’t go as I anticipated.  One thing I learned from my 2 previous births was that nothing will go like you expect so Maggie’s arrival wasn’t too different in that respect but I said I would avoid certain things at all costs and of course that isn’t what happened either. All that being said she had a wonderful birth!

I worked the weekend before she was born, 4 night shifts in a row, which everyone thought I was totally crazy for doing.  I figured at least if I was working I would be keeping busy instead of focusing on how uncomfortable I was and the longer I worked the longer I get to spend at home with her.  I felt like if I didn’t work I would be wasting my maternity leave, but as long as she and I were healthy I didn’t want to be induced.  So Tuesday morning rolled around and despite feeling lots of early labor symptoms since Sunday I still wasn’t in labor. I was scheduled for the post-dates testing Tuesday morning so my mom and I headed to the clinic for an NST, U/S, and a visit with the midwife.  The u/s went well – I had tons of amniotic fluid so no worries there- and the NST went ok.  It wasn’t the best NST ever but there wasn’t anything non-reassuring about it. Then I had the appointment with the midwife and she checked me. I was 2cm dilated, long and the baby’s head was at -2 station.   So basically at 41 weeks they offer induction, which all along I said I didn’t want but at this point I was really done being pregnant.  I had been vomiting and had terrible GI symptoms and as I told the midwife I kept feeling like I was on the verge of going into labor but I hadn’t quite reached the tipping point yet. So we decided we would do a couple doses of cervical ripening with misoprostol and if that didn’t work I’d go home and await spontaneous labor but we’d avoid any “big guns” (i.e. Pitocin).

So from the clinic we walked over to Labor and Delivery where my good friend Melody awaited us. We got started on the paperwork and she put me back on the monitor. I had my blood drawn and they started an IV. Funnily since my appointment the week before I had actually lost weight- 6 lbs total- and then they had a really hard time getting an IV started.  It took 5 tries to get an IV so that gives you an idea of how dehydrated I was at that point.  I was actually already contracting on my own at this point but very irregularly and some of them I wasn’t even feeling. So I got a dose of misoprostol and did my 2 hours on the monitor where I continued to contract every 4-5 minutes.  After the monitoring time was done my mom and I went for a walk and checked out the gift shop.  We headed back up to my room and I figured I would lie down for a bit before it was time for the next dose of miso and before Frank arrived with the boys.  Frank had worked that day and then gone home to feed the animals and pick up the boys.  He was bringing them to the hospital so he could be with me and then my mom could take them home.  I’d been lying down for maybe 15 minutes when I felt a pop but then nothing else so I thought, “well that was weird.” Not long after that I rolled over and felt a gush of fluid and thought maybe my water had broken but when I got up and went to the bathroom nothing else was leaking so I figured maybe I just peed myself.  Anyway I sat on the toilet for a while to see and nothing else seemed to be leaking so I got up and then the huge gush came! I guess her head must have shifted when I moved as soon as I stood up all that lovely amniotic fluid we’d seen on u/s came pouring right on out. As it turned out she had meconium stained amniotic fluid so the time had come for her to be born.

Not long after my water broke the contractions seemed to pick up.  They put me back on the monitor to see if I could have another dose of miso but I was contracting too much on my own to do that so we decided to let labor progress on its own.  So I paced around the room, rocked on the ball and then got in the tub as the contractions continued to get longer and closer together.  After a few hours I was really hurting and decided I wanted something for pain. Dr Bulley came and checked me and I was 4 cm dilated, 100% thinned out and the baby’s head was at -1 station so in a couple hours I had made some really good progress but I still had a ways to go.  We went back and forth about pain relief options.  I was worried about getting an intrathecal because I had such issues after James was born but I wasn’t really sure I wanted an epidural but I didn’t think that nubain was going to help enough to get me through.   So the anesthesiologist came and we talked about it and in the end I decided to go for the epidural.  So I got my epidural and it was wonderful! I had excellent pain relief and despite having a numb feeling in my butt I had really good motion and was able to move around freely in the bed.  The monitors didn’t even really bother me because I wasn’t really in pain.  I could still feel the contractions but it was more of a pressure feeling.

Maggie weighed 8 lbs 4oz and was 20.25 in long
Since I had an epidural we did lots of position changes and rolled side to side to help the baby come down evenly.  My doula, Janet, did counter pressure as I lay on my sides to help open my pelvis.  Within a few hours I was feeling a lot of pressure with contractions and then I started throwing up- classic sign of transition for me- so the midwife checked me again and I was complete. I labored down for a little bit and then started more actively pushing with the contractions.  At first the pushing felt good but soon enough I started to feel the burn.  I’ve got to say that the epidural was wonderful for the labor pain but it didn’t help at all with the pain of pushing! As I was pushing I was trying different positions to find one that felt better and ended up on my hands and knees.  I could feel her head moving down with each push and then sliding back in when I stopped pushing.  It was seriously frustrating!  I wanted to push because I wanted to get her out and have this over with but at the same time it hurt so much I didn’t want to push either. It was as she started to crown that I really lost it.  I just felt like I was going to split in two and she still wasn’t going to come out.  I was totally convinced that she wasn’t going to come but Frank, Janet, Rebekah my midwife, and Mel my nurse kept encouraging me to keep going.  I don’t think I could have done it without their help.  I was very lucky to have such a great team with me. So after 38 minutes (which seemed like much longer) of pushing, Maggie made her entrance at 1:28 a.m. on September 26, 2012. Once her head came out she just slipped the rest of the way out in another gush of amniotic fluid- unlike her brother thank goodness who has very snug shoulders! I flipped back over into a sitting position and ripped off all the belts and monitors and she came right up onto my chest. She had the cord wrapped around her neck a bit so she was a bit stunned when she first was born but wide awake and alert and looking around. At first I couldn’t tell if she was actually breathing she was so quiet but she was! She stayed snug skin to skin with me while I delivered the placenta and they checked me for lacerations- no stitches needed thank goodness! Once her cord stopped pulsing I got to cut it (Frank had no interest…) and she actually started nursing right away smart girl!

We stayed in Labor and Delivery until our recovery time was up and then moved out to our postpartum room. By then Maggie had fallen asleep so we all crashed.  Frank got up to go to work in the morning and I took the best shower of my life, even in the tiny cramped hospital bathroom! My original plan had been to go home that day but in the end we decided to stay one night and take advantage of the room service and that way we wouldn't have to come back to do Maggie's PKU testing. She passed all her tests with flying colors and was nursing well so we brought her home the next day!
Bringing Maggie home- September 27, 2012