(we are also playing with Dad's new Zumi camera, very fun!)
Talking and talking.... and talking
Attempting to find trouble wherever we go
Being a super amazing (if somewhat nerve-wracking) climby-pants
(we are also playing with Dad's new Zumi camera, very fun!)
I guess it's officially "Holiday Season" now that we're past Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd get into the spirit! I'm ready for my craft show this weekend and my costume commission is nearly done, giving me way more time to work on my holiday gifts.
We aim for about 75% handmade in our house, primarily made by me, so I have to spend A LOT of time finding ideas and inspiration. I've put together a small collection of tutorial links and handmade gift ideas that I love, in case you are looking for some inspiration!
1. Gorgeous fancy pants necklace tutorial at flamingotoes
2. Comfy flannel slippers tutorial from compulsive craftiness
3. DIY rope necklace from Honestly WTF
4. Trendy washer necklace DIY from the small object
For the Home
1. DIY map art from uniform natural
2. Cool crafty trivet from the small object
3. Recycled sweater blanket from shelterrific
For the Kiddos
1. Raglan sleeve shirt tutorial from craftiness is not optional
2. Adorable tiny owl tutowlrial from moonstitches
3. Lunch money cuff tutorial from a lemon squeezy home
For the Workmates
1. Crazy cute Norwegian coffee cosy tutorial at pickles (in English)
2. Cross stitch iPhone cases for those old-fashioned tech nerds at purlbee
3. Felted mittens with knitted cuffs tutorial also at purlbee
Hope you found something good! Feel free to leave a link to YOUR favorite tutorial in the comments!
Crochet Ornament/ Mobile Tutorial
I'm sure so many of you are sitting around this week, totally bored, wishing you had a little project to keep your hand busy....
Okay, so that's ridiculous, but I will say that these are fun to do on a car ride, and I'm thinking probably a lot of us will be taking car rides of varying lengths over the next several weeks.
I was inspired by a much more complicated and beautiful version of these on Etsy a few weeks ago and thought that it would be just the thing for my colorful scrap yarn and some 2 1/2" metal bracelets I bought MANY years ago and have yet to wear.
To make these, you will need:
1. small amounts of different colors of yarn (I used worsted weight, but finer would be fine too)
2. some kind of metal rings (2 1/2' worked well, but bigger would probably look nice too)
3. about 15 min to make each one
4. the ability to chain, slip stitch, single crochet, and double crochet- pretty simple!
The Nitty-Gritty Details
Row 1- chain 6, connect with slip stitch so you have a loop.
Row 2- chain 3(counts as one double crochet), double crochet into loop, chain 2,( 2 double crochet into loop, chain 2)repeat this 4 more times so you have a total of 6 groups of 2 double crochet, join to first chain 3 with slip stitch, break off yarn 1.
Row 3-Join yarn 2 with slip stitch in any chain 2 from row 2, chain 3(counts as one double crochet), 2 more double crochet into same chain 2 space, chain 2, (3 double crochet into next chain 2 space, chain 2) repeat 4 more times, join with slip stitch, break off yarn 2
Row 4 (or, if you're using different size metal ring and/or yarn, whenever your circle is approx the same size as your ring)- holding crochet and ring together, join yarn 3 with slip stitch in any chain 2 space AROUND metal ring as well, chain 1, 3 single crochet in same chain 2 space around metal ring as well, single crochet in each double crochet and 3 single crochet in each chain 2 space all the way around, making each stitch around the metal ring too, join chain 1 with slip stitch and bind off, leaving long tail to work with later.
Repeat for as many as you feel like making. Join them to a branch or colander or whatever to make a mobile, or tie them to each other to make a beautiful garland, or tie hooks onto the tails to make ornaments!
New Product Sneak Peek!
I will be debuting a new product at the Poor Artist's Sale Dec 3 in Calumet- coasters! Some are screen printed, some are designer fabrics (you may notice some Marimekko in the background there). They will be selling for $20 for a set of 4 and any that survive the show in Calumet will be posted on my Etsy shop with plenty of time to ship for the holidays!
I'll be taking the rest of the week off to celebrate all the many many things I have to be grateful for and to celebrate my husband's birthday! In the meantime, here is a list of a few of the things I'm giving thanks for right now. What are you grateful for today?
5's teething fever has broken
the really nice folks at our local post office
sweet potato pecan pie (cooling on the counter!)
all of you! who read my stories and share yours with me and help me remember that I'm not alone!
That's right, we took our family cheesiness level to the max yesterday. We did a holiday photo shoot, in the snow, wearing our coordinated outfits. Fred thinks I've lost my mind, but he knows better than to question the woman who does all of our holiday stuff with nary a complaint...
The fabric that is common to all three of our shirts is a vintage knit (cotton/poly blend I think) that I found at our local Fiberama! Isn't it grand? I feel like 5 just stepped out of an After School Special from 1982. Fred's sleeves are from a recycled Tshirt (it says "beef" on his shoulder, ha!), and both my shirt body and the ribbing are recycled on mine.
The photos were all taken by our friend Rachael (who also did my pregnancy photos). She does such amazing work, seriously, Fred is not photogenic, this is incredible.
5 has been a teething dooze the last 24 hours- fever, crying, total crabness, not such great sleeping, etc- so knowing that I'd be getting all the photos this morning really helped me through. This afternoon, he was playing on the floor, starts crying and turns to me with blood all over his mouth. I'm SO glad I'd already obsessively read everything that can happen while babies are teething because it was hard to take even knowing it was normal!
Even though I don't usually like pictures that accentuate my ever-deepening wrinkles, I think the black&white makes them look elegant and distinguished here....
Look! You can see that first tooth that sprouted about 6 weeks ago!
Come back Wednesday, when I'll be talking about a super cool and easy crochet project I've been working on!
The Snake Charmer
Amidst a week chock full of craziness, 5 figured out how to make sound come out of this recorder. Pretty cool. Last night he was mostly singing into it, copying the noises he heard his dad make with it and then, BAM, he was playing it.
Perhaps he realized that, while he has achieved great success early in life, male modeling will only get one so far, and he should really broaden his interests. He was, after all, the only model at the Finlandia University Student and Alumnae Fashion Show last night who was able to generate interest while sleeping down the catwalk. That's right, I said sleeping- he fell asleep 10 minutes before the show started and I carried him in my arms for the whole show. He was a hit. Hopefully I'll have some pictures next week.
Preview for Monday: we're going to try to take our family picture for our holiday card this weekend. It may or may not involve hand made coordinating family outfits. Yeah, I went there...
Big Boys Sit at the Table
Today was a very special day.
Not only did we get blanketed with a beautiful layer of fluffy white snow, but we met a new doctor AND got a visit from the hand-me-down high chair fairy!
From the doctor we learned that 5 has now exceeded 25 lbs- big boy indeed!
From the hand-me-down high chair fairy we learned that when little boys finally get to sit securely at the dinner table they eat like little princes. Well, kind of.
Truly a very special day.
First of all, thank you all so much for your kind words and encouragement in regards to the birth story. It was a very cathartic thing for me to do, and on the first anniversary no less!
Now, we had been planning all along on having a birthday party for 5, but when it came down to it, we couldn't really get our act together. So, instead, we decided to celebrate by doing all the things 5 loves best (I apologize in advance for not having pics of everything).
We opened and closed all the doors in the house (about 100 times)
We opened presents, with only minimal parental assistance. (I tell you, we were opening presents for, like, 2 hours!)
We had birthday panCAKEs, with strawberries and whipped cream. Yum!
Lastly, after all that exhausting celebration, 5 took an almost 4 hour nap. Whew!
Today, my baby boy turns 1 year old. In honor of such a day (turning 1 on 11/11/11 no less) I will now recount the tale of his birth. Read on, if you wish. Many thanks to those of you who encouraged me to do this, it was an excellent experience to write it down.
Warning- this is a birth story. Nuff said.
I had a doctor appointment on October 23- the day my original OBGYN had declared to be my due date (I believed it to be nearly a week later, but we're splitting hairs here)- and an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid level.
After the ultrasound, the technician told me to go upstairs and wait for someone. This made me a little nervous. I went up to the birth center and one of the nurses put me in an unused birthing suite and hooked me up to an EFM. Why, you ask? Probably just to make me more nervous, I think.
I waited for over an hour, nobody knew or would tell me anything. Finally, my husband was getting off work and I called him to come over. We both waited some more, until finally my OBGYN came in and told me I didn't have enough amniotic fluid. We asked lots of questions, like if I could be dehydrated, etc, but she said, bottomline, I have to be induced first thing the next day.
This was not what we wanted to hear. We were very much hoping for a completely natural childbirth- not just free from drugs, but also from unnecessary interference in general. We believed (and still do, for the most part) that the body knows what its supposed to do and our job is to let it get on with it.
We went home, terrified, and did research and talked with our doula. We decided to try some natural induction methods, hoping to avoid pitocin or anything else that might start us down the slippery slope of necessary medical interventions. I also drank a lot of water because while my doctor said that hydration levels don't affect amniotic fluid levels, many authoritative medical institutions DO.
After a night filled with all kinds of curious hijinx, very few of which involving sleep, we were having some contractions! I called the doc on call at our hospital and he gave us the ok to stay home. Yay!
Fast forward two weeks of early labor, crazy amounts of walking, regular checks by Fred with the fetoscope, and no little amount of stress.
November 9, 2010, 4 am - something is different. Yup, definitely different. Different in a distinctly hurt-y way. I woke Fred up and we went downstairs so I could spend the next few hours in varying hand/elbow/knee combinations hollering at Fred to stop doing the damn dishes and COUNTERPRESS ME ALREADY!
We waited until 7 or so to call the doula, it seemed the polite thing to do. We weren't really in any hurry, but I also figured we would have a baby by the end of the day...
At some point during that day, I started throwing up. I could no longer hold anything down, including water. Not that I had any desire to eat or drink anything, but it is kind of important for survival. I spent some time on a birthing ball- did NOT like that, quite a while in the bath tub- would never have gotten out if we had a full-size one, and various other positions.
We were using noninvasive midwife techniques to estimate how far I was dilated (we wanted to stay at home as long as possible) and by around 8 pm I was about 8 cm and starting to feel nervous about not making it to the hospital in time.
We packed up and loaded me into the car with my puke bucket for the 3 minute ride to the hospital.
I made what seemed like a ten mile walk from the emergency entrance all the way to the birth center and met the nurses on shift for the night. I was nervous that we were really going to have to fight for our birth plan, but they were great, they just kept telling me that it was my birth. I did get a bag of IV fluids, but they didn't give me any static that time about taking the IV out when it was done. The bad news: I was only about 6 cm, so I either went backwards or was never as far along as we thought.
Over the next two days, we went through quite a number of nurses and two docs, the vast majority of which were amazing and wonderful. Nobody ever offered me any pain medication, we were never pushed to use anything to speed up the process, although that was at least partly due to my water being unbroken.
My husband and our doula were amazing. They were always there for me, watching for the subtlest of clues to know how to help- and they did get crazy subtle, we're talking miniscule head shakes and politician-sized thumbs ups. Our doula (who I am choosing to leave unnamed so as to protect her privacy) was constantly researching every development, staying as informed as humanly possible about everything that was going on.
Amidst long showers, naked duckwalking, insane amounts of counterpressure, and lots of elbows and knees, we also had some more IV fluids (I don't even know how much) and discovered that our baby, who had been in optimal position for the entire freakin' pregnancy, had rotated. Such a stinker, even before he was born!
After 48 hours of natural labor, I had progressed to a whopping 7 cm. Hmmm. I hadn't slept for more than 12 minutes and hadn't eaten or had anything to drink. We were all starting to wonder where I might come up with the energy to push this baby out. At this point, our beautiful, crunchy, home-birthing, earth mama doula suggested that epidurals may have been invented for this exact situation.
She had been researching and found that the dosing could be adjusted if one were so inclined and perhaps we could make use of one without losing the ability to push effectively. I called in the nurse and asked her to tell us everything she knew about epidurals. As it turned out, she was the perfect person to talk to. Apparently, epidurals are usually started at a dose called "10" and women can have them turned up from there if it's not enough. Our nurse had had one with her last child, but she had turned it down to 8.
This part is a little fuzzy, because I was definitely losing my mind, but I think we talked to the doc on call and told him we were going to do a low dose epidural and a very low dose of pitocin after we get a little bit of sleep. I can't be sure, because he was fairly inscrutable, but I think he was relieved.
Just after we made this decision, I got up to pee and fell down. I heard a very un-pee-like pop and my water broke. This show was finally getting on the road...
Around 3 in the morning (this is now November 11) the anesthesiologist got in. He was kind of surreal, like a benevolent David Lynch character. It's funny, because I decided I wanted to have a natural childbirth when I was like 8 or 9 and found out exactly what an epidural was. I was THAT creeped out by it, and honestly, if I hadn't already been in labor for 48 hours, I would STILL have been too creeped out by it. I'm really glad I couldn't see any of his instruments because our doula did and practically had nightmares about them. Yes, it hurt, in a really weird and icky way that I never want to ever feel again, but the scariest and hardest part was that I had to hold COMPLETELY STILL while he was doing all of this. Yeah, I had to hold still through 2 or 3 contractions. Not so easy. I was shaking uncontrollably. But, I was already in better spirits. Fred and our doula were actually alarmed at how fast I went from out-of-my-mind to joking about nursing school accreditations.
So, pain relieved, we all slept for three hours. Ta Da! Humanity returned!
I think it was after we woke up that they started the pitocin. At our hospital at least, they start the dosing at 1 and it goes up by 1 every half hour. I requested to stay at 2. I'm pretty sensitive to drugs and didn't want to mess around with this stuff.
I should also mention at this point that once the epidural went in, I was as good as strapped to the bed. I had all kinds of tubes going in and coming out and a giant sticker on my back. I was no longer allowed to do occasional EFM, but had it going all the time. Not the way I wanted to labor, but...
During a nurse shift change, my pitocin somehow got all the way up to 4. I was feeling the contractions through the epidural- not good. The new nurse turned it down immediately (but this is where I think the damage was done).
After 3 hours on pitocin I was fully dilated. I had them turn my epidural down from 7 to 4. None of the staff there had ever had anyone with a dose that low, so they couldn't give me any idea of what I might or might not be able to feel. I had initially wanted to turn it completely off once I was ready to push, but our doula said that the intensity of the sensation after epidural wore off might be too big of a shock, so I decided to leave it on a little.
I told the staff that I would not be taking any orders to push thankyouverymuch and would be pushing only when my body told me to. That sounds kind of snarky, but really, it wasn't. I just hate the idea of someone else telling me when my body wants to be doing something. Thankfully, I did feel the urge to push and could feel quite a lot with the epidural turned down so low. It took about 2 hours of pushing and a number of different positions. The doctor tried to get me into lithotomy at which point I nearly cried and told him I simply couldn't do that. I finally ended up sitting almost completely upright with my husband holding one of my legs up and our doula holding the other.
Meconium had been discovered a few hours ago so there were probably 10 other people in the room by now, ready and waiting. At 11:43, once our baby's head was about halfway out, the doctor reached in and pulled him out. Because of the meconium, we didn't get to wait to cut the cord, or any of our other good stuff, they whisked him away. In fact, the only reason I knew he was a boy was because I overheard one nurse talking to another. They suctioned out a lot of meconium and it apparently got down lower than is considered normal or safe so they took him to the nursery to run a bunch of tests. Fred went with him so we had one of us with him at least.
This part was really difficult. I lost a fair amount of blood, and like, all of my hemoglobin, and was too exhausted to even stand. I felt really lucky to have our doula to take care of me while Fred was with our precious new baby. After an hour and a half, my fantastic delivery nurse said I had to go see my baby and she and my doula picked me up and got me into a wheelchair to go into the nursery.
As a rather ugly baby, I was completely ready to love a homely baby and had been preparing Fred for months, but he was CUTE! So sweet and perfect, it was heartbreaking that I could only hold him for about a minute before my arms gave out. The pediatrician said he needed to go to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in Marquette, 2 hours away.
The rest of this story is for another time as it is more the after-birth story. I know it seems like not a very good ending, but if you've been reading my blog at all, you know that we did get our happy ending, it just took a little longer. 5 is perfect and healthy and had no lasting ill-effects.
Also, while Fred and I did not get to follow our birth plan, we felt very empowered in our decision-making, and that has really helped us to feel good about our birth story.
Join me Monday for a birthday recap! There will be cake!
Have you ever wildly overestimated the amount of things you can get done in a day?
I have been doing that. Every day. For a few weeks. Hmmmm...
We went to Minneapolis last Thursday and stayed through the weekend so Fred could do a letterpress training at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (a very cool org, by the way). I made a list longer than my arm of various things to do and places to go for 5 and I and somehow thought that I would fit a blog post in there. That was kind of ridiculous.
We did have a lovely time though. 5 and I may have gone a bit overboard fabric shopping- Ikea + Crafty Planet + Joann's (with coupons AND a big sale) = really a lot of fabric that simply HAD to come home with us...
I didn't take a single picture all weekend either. Huh. I think perhaps I needed a break.
At this time last year, I was in labor with my sweet sweet nearly 1 year old babe. I'm nearly done revisiting day 1 of the 3 day marathon of birth. This is the day I remember almost fondly- most of it was spent at home, and all of it was filled with the hope and determination of someone who knows that labor doesn't take more than 24 hours...
Perhaps I will write up 5's birth story for an anniversary post. Any objections? I never want to offend anyone, but I usually love to read other women's birth stories now that I have one of my own.
Last weekend, Fred and I had our first baby-free date since 5 was born.
Yes, I missed him.
No, I didn't call my mom 100 times to see how they were doing.
And finally, no, we didn't stay out for all that long.
Just a dinner date, but it was a lovely dinner date.
We got to have meaningless conversation and make eye contact and after dinner, when we took a little walk downtown, we could hold hands and/or kiss without someone else trying to get in on the action.
Fortunately, his Oma thought to document their unprecedented chunk of time together....
There was tooth-brushing
10 more laps around the living room! No grandson of mine is going to have weak thighs!
Come on Oma! I think I saw your glasses upstairs. I will get them for you!
5 showed Oma how he helps around the house
Uhh, Oma? You look like you need to pee. Yeah, definitely. You should come on over here- don't worry, I'll help you. Do you want one roll of toilet paper or two?
Finally, there was napping
After such an exhausting itinerary, it was no surprise that the little guy needed some rest. Thank you Oma, for taking such good care of our sweet sweet baby and giving us some time to just be a couple!
My name is Ansley Knoch. I am the creator of Rispok, a line of accessories for big and little people made from repurposed materials. I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my husband, Fred, and our son, also Fred, better known as 5.