Thursday, March 31, 2011

cutting corners baby quilt

I wanted to get several sewing projects done before the baby was born, but turns out that sitting at my sewing machine while 9 months pregnant wreaks havoc on my pubic bones so I gave up. But, I was finally able to get Lark's baby quilt tied and finished with the help of my mom when she came to stay with me for a few days after the baby was born (thanks mom!!).

I used Rachel's Cutting Corners Lap Quilt tutorial from her Modern Patchwork e-course. I had totally forgotten about making a baby blanket until I saw this quilt so I knew I had to make one for Lark, it was meant to be! Rachel's pictures and directions were clear and super easy to follow, I just changed the measurements up to make a smaller version.

For now it is on LM's toddler bed until I can get around to finishing her new 'big girl bed' quilt. I'm thinking I'll try out a chevron striped pattern for her.






And here's a view of the quilt as a whole.


For the back I wanted more color, so I cut random widths of leftover fabric and sewed them into stripes. I love that it's an entirely new look when you flip it around since I tend to like change often.

I hope to get in more sewing time again now that Lark is settling into a more predictable nap schedule. There are several more tutorials from Modern Patchwork that I am excited to try out among other projects on my long 'to-sew' list (a list that never seems to get any shorter!). What have you been sewing lately?

xo

Monday, March 28, 2011

my oldest

 I feel like my oldest has been a bit neglected on the blog lately, but we haven't forgotten about her!

Currently she is obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba, making sure Lark's diaper gets changed regularly, painting rainbows and pigs, singing with her microphone, jumping off the couch onto pillows, reading Olivia, and eating canned peaches. Can't wait to see what she'll be obsessed with next week, she keeps us on our toes! 




I used to think I couldn't love her more, but now I realize there will never be an end to it...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

shop update: shoes



Today I was left with an open quiet afternoon and a sleeping baby so I thought I'd take advantage and update the shop. I added a bunch of shoes if you'd like to take a closer look!

Have you had a good weekend? Ours was spent running errands (yes, I actually got out of the house!) and spending time with the last of our family that came from out of town to help with/see the baby. I am starting to feel like we've had Lark forever instead of just two weeks. I am taking that as a good sign that I am getting the hang of taking care of two little ones. But even though life is settling back down, I still get that new mother thrill when I pick her up and I just want to cover her in kisses from head to toe! I hope that feeling stays for a long time...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

lark's birth story



Round one.

When I was pregnant with my first I half decided to give birth naturally. I started seeing some midwives and attended a hypnobirthing class, but if I am going to be honest I always knew in the back of my mind that I could opt for an epidural since I would be in the hospital - which is why I say half decided. I was scared of the unknown. But I read the book cover to cover, practiced the relaxation techniques almost daily, and kept telling myself I could do it...with that ever-present 'maybe' trailing along behind...

When I finally started having contractions 9 days past my due date I failed miserably at putting into practice everything I had learned. I didn't even bring my relaxation music with me to the hospital. I was excited and scared, but mostly naive. I dilated to about a 5 or 6 before I started seriously thinking about that epidural. I gave in to the fear. Her birth was still a good experience and I didn't make myself feel bad about getting the epidural, but a part of me knew that I had to prove to myself I could do it naturally next time.

***

Round two.

I started having practice contractions on a Wednesday night 2 days past my due date about 20 minutes apart which got me excited because I knew from my first experience it was only a matter of time now that I was actually feeling something. The next night Husband and I went out to dinner for some spicy Thai food in hopes to get things really started and to have one last date. Once we got home my contractions started getting a little more intense and by 1:30 am I was calling my mom to come over since I had asked her to be my doula. I realized from my first experience that I needed to surround myself with more support. I knew my mom would encourage me to keep going naturally if my resolve started wavering.

(Side story - I called my mom at least 20 times and she didn't answer her phone so I knew she couldn't hear it or it was dead. I had to call my oldest sister who lives in her same town in the dead of night to ask her a favor - would she please drive over to mom's house and wake her up!!! Turns out my mom went to a movie with my aunt that night and forgot to take her phone off vibrate. Of all the nights, ha!)

I couldn't sleep so I started listening to my hypnobirthing relaxation and when my mom arrived at about 3:00 am we started timing my contractions. I sat in a comfy rocker and would say, 'start' and 'stop' when my contractions came and went, all the while doing deep yoga breathing through them and totally relaxing my body. Each contraction felt just a little different and a 3-D mental image would come into my mind of what the contraction "looked" like - the images were bright bursts of light against the darkness of my closed lids. Once there was an image in the form of a butterfly, another time a fish jumping out of the water, but mostly they were just abstract shapes. They would start small and grow as the contraction peaked and then I would blow the images away with my breath. That was something I did not expect but it was pretty incredible and absolutely beautiful what my relaxed state of mind generated. The contractions gradually got stronger and stronger but I never felt any pain, only tightening, a tingling sensation of building intensity, and waves of power surging downward. I began to look forward to the next one.

And then all of a sudden they slowed way down around 7:00 am. This was disappointing but I was very relaxed and didn't feel tired because I had been in a meditative, restful state all night. The slow time ended up being nice because we could freshen up, and walking around and taking a shower got my contractions going again. So back to the rocker it was for another few hours and the contractions continued to get stronger and stronger so I was happy.


Around 3:00 pm we decided to get ready to go to the hospital. On the way I realized I was hungry and got a sudden craving for Subway, so Husband and I ate sandwiches in the car while my mom went shopping for baby clothes. I had some intense contractions in the car that I could tell were making me dilate because the sensation and mental images of those ones were like widening donut rings. It was amazing that I could be that in tune with my body in the midst of labor and still be able to enjoy my sandwich between contractions and chat with Husband.

We got to the hospital at 4:00 pm and first things first I needed the nearest bathroom. I wonder if the lady at the front desk believed Husband when he told her I was in labor because I asked her to direct me to the restroom calmly as if I was just walking by and stopped in to use the facilities. We went up to labor and delivery and they put me in triage. This is when I started getting nervous for the first time and my whole body started shaking - what if I wasn't dilated enough? But best news ever, I was at a six! And then I knew for sure that I was going to do this naturally. It was totally doable. I was more than half way there. I wasn't in any pain. I was relaxed and focused.

They took me to a delivery room and I sat on the bed just like the rocker and breathed through my contractions and two hours later I was at an eight! It was very peaceful and quiet with the lights dim. My mom and Husband took turns rubbing my feet with essential oils and between contractions we chatted with my midwife. I never stopped listening to my relaxation music the entire time and this was key to my staying in control. I could hear everything that was going on around me, but I could slip away whenever I needed. The music easily lead me back into my restful and relaxed state.

Two hours later we hit the first bump in the road - I was stuck at an eight.  Lark's head was at a slight angle so we needed to try some new positions to help align her. My water also hadn't broken yet, so we decided to have my midwife break it to help things along as well. I went from bouncing on my yoga ball, to sitting in the tub, to back on the bed this time laying on my side when out of nowhere I got really uncomfortable. I still can't say it was painful but I couldn't get in a position that felt right. I still did deep breathing through my contractions but I couldn't keep my body totally under control like before - I needed to move. And then I remember saying, "I want to push!" 

Then I really couldn't find a position I liked. Finally after some uncomfortable contractions in positions I didn't like, I settled on squatting with the end of the bed lowered and I wanted my midwife to tell me when to push since I couldn't seem to figure out how to do it productively myself. Hypnobirthing teaches you to breath the baby down but that was not going to work for me at this point. I was ready to be done and hold my baby in my arms. It had been 24 hours of not physical, but mental exhaustion. I reminded myself to stay calm, it would be over soon and I was praying hard for strength.

I pushed her out in four or five contractions. The amazing thing though was that again, it didn't hurt. I didn't even expect it to hurt. I felt the slightest little sting when she crowned, but other than that it felt exactly like when I pushed my oldest daughter out with an epidural - pressure. Except this time I could feel where Lark was so it was more encouraging because I knew she was almost out. And then all of a sudden it was over and they gave me my squished but beautiful little girl! 

In the end I didn't tear, I didn't swell nearly as much as the first time, I wasn't as tired, I wasn't ghostly pale like I was for days with my first, I didn't bleed as much, I wasn't as sore... everything about my recovery was a million times better and easier.

When I compare my two birth experiences it is so apparent to me that the second time around I didn't let fear make my decisions for me and I have never felt more empowered! 

Giving birth is natural and beautiful and truly a miracle. And, amazingly, it doesn't have to hurt.

at home

Life with a newborn is both slower and faster. Slower because we just hang out at home and cuddle and nurse and sleep, but faster because the days are over before we know it. Has it really been almost two weeks since she was born?  

The Little Miss got a hold of my camera today so I asked her to take some pictures of me holding Lark. I think she did a pretty awesome job for a two-year old! 






And good news! We figured out that the LM's fussiness and clingy behavior last week was caused by teething, not baby coming home jealousy. She got her four incisors (she is a really late teether) so no wonder she was emotionally volatile - ouch! She is now back to her normal self and giving Lark lots of hugs and kisses. Watching them interact makes me so happy, it's the best!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

lark//1 week old


I can't believe how much our tiny Lark has changed in just one short week. I've decided to document her growth by taking pictures of her wearing this pin each week for the first month, and then once a month after that... 


So far she has only kept us up one night - we want to pinch ourselves and hope it keeps up (pretty please?). She is a champ at cuddling and nursing, but her burps do not want to come out without a fight.


 And, it is official that she has inherited her daddy's dimple! It shows up when she smiles in her sleep and melts my heart. Also, when she was first born I thought she looked nothing like her sister, but now I am starting to see more similarities in their looks.  


Speaking of her big sister, the Little Miss is slowly adjusting. It's been hard to tell how she really feels though because she came down with a 102 degree fever this week which made her extra needy and clingy. I have a feeling it isn't going to be smooth sailing though... any advice on how to make the transition easier for the older sibling (and for the momma being pulled in two directions)?


 I'll be posting my birth story soon, and maybe I'll find something else to blog about other than babies but I can't promise anything! Okay, back to snuggling on the couch now. We are going to watch a movie. Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

introducing...


Lark Hart

born Friday, March 11th at 11:07 pm after 24 hours of  natural labor
weighing 7 lbs 11 oz. and 19 1/2 in. long

Right after she was born instead of screaming at the top of her lungs she started making soft crying sounds just like a little bird. It was so sweet and funny that we immediately nicknamed her our little Lark, or Larkie. So, that is the nickname I will call her on the blog.

So far she is a dream baby and the only difficult thing I am dealing with is my blessing of having more than enough milk supply! I'll write my birth story when I get a chance. I used the hypnobirthing method and had an incredible pain-free experience that I still almost can't believe... 

Thank you for all your well wishes! We are so happy she is part of our family now. Hope to get things back to normal here soon, but right now cuddle time is my number one priority :)

p.s. so far it looks like she inherited her daddy's dimples... I am crossing my fingers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

she is here

Our first picture as a family of four

I am a very happy momma of two. We are getting settled at home now. I'll write more later, but I wanted to let you know she is here!!!



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

baby bump: week 40


Hi... I'm still here and still very much pregnant. Today is the day we've been looking forward to these past nine months, but I never really expected to have a baby in my arms by, or on, my due date. The Little Miss was 8 days 'late' but only weighed 7.0 lbs which leads me to believe she wasn't really 'late' but perfectly on time. And this baby belly I've got feels just about the same size to me, so, I am trying to be patient and not think about the 'when' part too much. Although that is easier said than done.


I will say the days leading up to the due date seem to be harder for me than the actual due date and thereafter. Probably because the anticipation is over, and now I know I won't have to wait too long to meet her. But it's hard to pinpoint how I feel at this time since it seems to change hourly :) Anyway, this is the last baby bump picture I plan on taking, let's hope week 41 doesn't come around this time.

I hope you will understand if I am a little quieter this week. Send some good birthing thoughts my way!


And, the Little Miss wanted to take a picture of the pretty rainbow she painted with her daddy last night so I thought I'd share :)

p.s. If you are planning a baby shower or just attending one these diaper cakes are so fun and would make great decor that the mother-to-be could take home and actually use! I always appreciate getting diapers as gifts since babies go through them so fast, don't you?

Friday, March 4, 2011

three little clouds


One of the pros (actually the only pro) about the occasional night when I can't fall back asleep quickly after nature calls is that ideas seem to flow easily into my mind... for instance, the doll suitcase - I thought that one up in the middle of the night and then I really couldn't fall back asleep because I was so excited to make it.

This was one of those flowing ideas. As I lay my head back down my thoughts turned to what I should hang up over the crib (obviously because that is a very important thought to have at 2 am) and what came to me was clouds, with doilies. I knew I wanted it to be something light so I wouldn't be worried about it falling on the baby and what is lighter than clouds? My sleepy mind has all the answers.


So last night I made these three little cloud pillows (how-to steps below if you are interested). You could say they are rain clouds since I used gray fabric, or even snow clouds since the doilies are like snowflakes (the Little Miss pointed that one out to me), but I think they are happy clouds whatever kind they are... 

 baby's-eye-view


The Little Miss is officially sleeping in her toddler bed full time now (recently freshly painted white) and it seems we timed the switch perfectly since she has discovered how fun it is to climb on the crib. She is excited for baby sister to sleep there soon.


Mid-photo shoot I remembered that I could put up the vintage mobile I bought now, and best part - that it is an umbrella! I didn't even think of that connection when I was making the clouds, although my happy clouds would never rain on her sweet head :)


So the nursery is slowly coming together. I still want to get new curtains, make a bedspread for the Little Miss, finish the baby quilt I started, and hang up all the pictures, but all of the big main projects are done! We are very happy to have our garage back now that everything is painted.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

***
How-to:
The clouds were super easy to make (a satisfying project you could finish in less than an hour):
- Make a cloud template out of paper or just draw directly onto the fabric
- Cut out 2 clouds and sew them together leaving an opening on the side
- Clip around curves and down to corners, turn right side out and iron flat
- Stuff as full as you want with stuffing
- Slip stitch the opening closed
- Lay doily on top, pin in place, and hand stitch onto cloud (I stitched mine on very loosely since they wouldn't be viewed super close up or touched and I promised my mother I wouldn't ruin the doilies since they were made by my great-grandmother. If I was making a pillow someone would use frequently I would machine sew the doilies in place before I sewed the two clouds pieces together.)
- I hung mine up lazy style with a strip of scrap fabric safety pinned on the back

Thursday, March 3, 2011

shop update: pretty dresses

The big dress update I've been working on is in the shop! Take a look below to see what's new. There are some really pretty options for Easter or the upcoming wedding season.

And... I need to clean up shop and make some room, so I added a SALE SALE SALE section with over 30 items all marked down 40% - nothing is over $9.00 so check it out!











I know all I've been posting about this week is dresses...sorry! I promise this is the last dress post for awhile. Hope you see something you like!

xo

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

coming soon...

 I'm working away getting a bunch of dresses ready to be listed in the shop for Easter - baby sizes all the way up to young girl! I want to have all the listings ready to go in case I say, have a baby any day now... and if I keep myself busy it keeps my mind off the waiting game :)

I mentioned my niece came over to model some of the bigger dresses for me this last weekend and here is a little sneak peek. I may be biased but I think I have the most gorgeous niece ever and she is only ten. You better believe the boys will be chasing her in a few years!


Can't wait to show you the rest! I better go take advantage of nap time now and get started on the smaller dresses... 
xo