Friday, December 19, 2014

So it's been awhile

I don't even know where to begin.  My last post, I announced Archie's birth.  I was so happy to finally meet this boy we waited so long for.  The day I came home I was so happy.  The hospital stay seemed long and not as restful.  I was finally home with my new baby.  All seemed well.  Until Archie was 11 days old and we went to the doctor's where we learned he wasn't gaining weight fast enough.  I was shocked to say the least.  After breastfeeding the girls, for three years each, I was confident in my ability to nurse a baby.

But as it turned out I wasn't the problem.  For some reason Archie was not a good nurser.  And this, his not gaining weight and not nursing well, is what tipped me over the edge into postpartum depression.  My main symptoms were terrible anxiety, a sense of dread, and insomnia.  It was awful.  

Thankfully I got help pretty quickly. At 4 weeks postpartum I went on an anti depressant.  After a couple of weeks I was feeling a lot better.  And with the help of Trazodone I started sleeping better and better.  But August was a rough month and so was a lot of September.  Brent, my Mom, my Dad, and my sisters were hugely supportive.  Without their support and help I wouldn't have gotten better as quickly as I did.    

I am pleased to say I feel like myself again and all is well.  Thankfully.  I am one of the lucky ones.  Some women suffer terribly with PPD.  There is so much more I want to say on this entire topic.  But I think I need some more distance from it before I can write about it.  

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein:  "Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony.  In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity."  
There is so much that I have learned from this experience.  

I learned how much I love Brent.  He was there for me totally and completely.  Our marriage vows were truly tested.  In sickness and health.  Mental illness is very scary.  But Brent never failed me.

I learned to ask for help.  I am an independent person who likes to do things herself.  But in this situation I needed a lot of help.  At one point all I could really manage to do was to feed Archie.  My parents came up several weeks to help me.

I learned that I am so much more than a pair of boobs to Archie.  Breastfeeding defined my parenting of a baby and toddler.  I nursed my babies for nutrition but also I nursed them to sleep.  I nursed them to comfort them and  to soothe them.  With Archie, after struggling to breastfeed for weeks, I finally decided to formula feed.  At the time, it broke my heart.  I had to learn how to parent a baby in a different way.  I couldn't just use my boobs to meet every need- to feed, comfort, soothe, and put to sleep.  I had to learn how to parent all over again.  I felt like a first time Mom at times.  In the end it all worked out well.  He is a happy healthy boy.  

For now, I am sewing again.  And knitting.  And working on needlepoint stocking for Archie.  It won't be done for Christmas but that is okay. 

I look forward to sharing some of the things I am working on now.  I can't wait to show you the outfit I am making Archie right now.  So cute!    

I'd like to revisit some of these topics as well. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Archer William
July 28, 2014
9:08 am
8lbs, 14 oz
21 inches long

Friday, July 11, 2014

Getting ready for baby

In my 9th month of pregnancy, I have lost my desire to sew.  I just can't sew anymore.  I am too tired.  I am working on the baby's needlepoint stocking when I feel like sewing.  It's a nice thing to work on.  

So in my family someone usually makes the new baby a quilt.  Typically it's my older sister Anne or my Mom.  Anne's made my girls each a quilt.  But with 2 young kids of her own, I asked my Mom to make Gummy Bear a quilt.  Although my Mom is an amazing quilter, I asked her to make this very simple quilt.  It's made from flannel and it's very thick, warm and cozy.  I wanted it to be made from bold, bright fabric.  I imgaine using this quilt in the stroller on our long walks in the morning after I put the kids on the bus.  Or used in the car, or on the couch.  As you can see Grace really likes it!  

With some of the leftover fabric, my Mom sewed up a little baby quilt.  She really wanted the baby to have quilt that was more babyish.  So this one is smaller and thinner and I am sure he'll use it a lot too!

For this being our 3rd baby, we are so lucky to have some very lovely friends and co workers who gave us a baby shower and baby gifts for this little guy.  We were lucky enough to get some money and gift cards and we put it towards getting a brand new stroller.  My other stoller, the one I got with Grace, was so beat up we finally threw it away a year or so ago.  I wish that stroller had an odometer on it.  I'd love to know how many miles I put on that stroller with nearly 10 years of constant use.  So a stroller is seriously the ONE baby thing that I really care about.  It's my ticket to freedom with a young child.  I love nothing more than loading up my baby, grabbing the dog, and going for a nice long walk by the river.  

So here is the stroller!  Over the holiday weekend while I was visiting my sisters,  we put our heads together, and decided THIS stroller was the best stroller for my needs.  I needed a stroller that was great in a city- able to go over bumpy sidewalks and make tight turns, yet not be too big and bulky.   I also wanted a stroller that was easy to steer with one hand if need be.  My strollers are used outside for the most part rather than used inside malls or for shopping.  I love taking the dog on walks with us.  My old stroller (which I LOVED) had 2 separate handles and that was actually really hard to steer with one hand when holding onto a dog in the other hand.  I like the one handle on this stroller.  And last I needed a stroller that was not just for a baby.  I use a stroller for a LONG time.  At least till the child is 4 years old.   Like I said, my stroller is my ticket to freedom.  Living in the city and so close to the amazing river walk, our walks can go from a couple miles long to 8 miles long!  Once they are older, I let my kids get out and walk for awhile but no child of mine could ever keep up with my pace or endurance (haha) so they always end up back in the stroller at some point.    So the weight limit on this stroller is 65 pounds and for fun Margot tried it out.  And at 6 1/2 years old, she almost still fits!  

Of course one of the biggest decisions to make while pregnant is the deciding on the baby's name.  It was so easy to name Grace.   Her name is Grace Anne.  We thought her name was beautiful and perfect just like her.  BUT she does not agree.  First of all she thinks her name Grace Anne is redudant.  Anne apparently means Grace.  So it's like I named her Grace Grace she says.  Then there is the factor of our last name.  More redudancy with her middle name and last name.  Sigh.  So, she would like to rename her self "Grace Caroline" as you can see she signed her "name" on our window for all to see.  Sigh.  

Margot was a little harder to name.  We were pretty certain on her first name when we went into the hospital but had no idea what her middle name should be.  We decided to name her Eve.  Margot Eve.  Again, the perfect name for the perfect girl.  

So onto this little dude.  I find naming a boy MUCH HARDER.  We have decided to wait to meet this little guy till we name him.   It won't be long.  But we've called him Gummy Bear for so long we wonder if that nickname will stick...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For the Little Prince

The gown is finished!  Well not completely, it still needs buttons.  I am going to wait until closer to his baptism.  I have a fear he is either going to be bigger or smaller than I am expecting so I want to wait to do the buttons in case I need to make adjustments.  

It's very hard photographing a baptismal gown that is white and 36 inches long!  So here are the best photos.  This one lets you see the entire gown with all the details.  

I am in the process of making a slip to be worn underneath.  You can see how lightweight the fabric is.  Also I need to hand wash, starch, line dry, and iron this before the big day.  Again, that can wait!  

Close up of the collar.  I really enjoyed doing all the handwork on this.  

(The collar looks a bit wonky in this picture but I assure you it's not in real life.  The back of the gown is just pinned closed with one pin so I think that is why it looks that way.)

Close up of the sleeve.  Lace insertion and two tucks,  edged with entredeux and more lace.  

And the hemline.  Edged with entredeux and lace.  This lace on the bottom is the same pattern to the lace insertion in the sleeve.  Originally I tried to attach the lace by machine using a narrow zig zag.  The result was horrid.  I ripped it out very carefully and attahed the lace by hand. 

I am so happy my sister encouraged me to start the gown now!  There is no way I'd want to be doing this with a newborn.  I learned so much and truly enjoyed the process.  I am looking forward to making Margot's First Communion Dress using heirloom patterns and/or techniques.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Halter tops!

 And I said the blog might be quiet for a while!  The girls put on their new tops so I took the time to snap some pictures.  I did end up aadding a big panel of eyelet lace to Margot's since she didn't like her belly sticking out.  It turned out cuter than I originally thought.  Personally, I like her belly sticking out. But I really just want her to be comfortable.  So here are some pictures.  I though they were pretty funny between the dog and Margot's expressions!

Super cute right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Sewing

Thank you for all the kind comment on my last post.   Last week I was walking the kids home from the library and our amazing crossing gaurd stopped to cross us.  The intersection she works is a big, busy one.  It's the crossroads of the neighborhood.   Side note, this woman is to both be feared and admired.   If I am driving through that intersection I proceed with caution.  You don't want to do the wrong thing in "her" intersection and anger her.  Likewise, I have sat at the coffee shop at the corner and watched her work.  She has a kind word for every person she crosses (and a dog bone for the dogs) and that includes all the students both big and small, but also the homeless people, the old people,  and the regular adults like myself.  I am not going to lie, watching her work has brought tears to my eyes.  She's pretty amazing.  Anyhow, the point of my story.  As she was crossing us she asked me when I was due and I told her the end of July.  And do you know what she said?  She said, "oh that's going to come fast!".  See this woman rocks.  She knows people!

Anyhow, so I finished up all of my sewing I wanted to do for the girls for summer and I started on Gummy Bear's Christening Gown.

This is Margot in her new Class picnic outfit posing in front of her "library".  We put all of our children's books in one place, on this shelf.  Before, they were everywhere, the playroom, the family room, in Grace's bedroom and Margot's too.  Now they are in one place.  We pushed the ottoman over to that shelf and she can climb on to it and get any book she wants.  She visits the library often.  And I have been charged with expanding our Non Fiction section.  It's apparently lacking.  Anyhow, I made this in a 7 thinking I made her a 6 last year but I think I made her a 5.  This is a tad bit big.  But there is room to grow.  And since she grows like a weed she might get two years from this pattern.  

This is the Garden Party top and the Sunny Days shorts.  The top is made from a lawn and the shorts are made from leftover linen I had in my stash. 

I do love this pattern and it makes for a great summer top.   I think it would make nice pajamas too. 

This is so cute on.  I wish these pictures were better but I snapped them quickly.  Anyhow, the top is so light and airy perfect for hot summer days.  And the shorts are comfortable too.  They are so quick to sew up too and they don't use much fabric.  

This is a little halter top I made for Grace using Simplicity 1453.  I know it doesn't look like much hanging on the hanger.  But trust me it looks adorable on.  She paired it with her high waisted, long, dark jean shorts.  And it looks so cute.  This pattern only goes to a size 8 yet she needed a size 10.  So I sized it up.  Margot liked Grace's so much I made Margot one.  But I forgot that Margot has a really long torso and a lot of her belly sticks out where as on Grace only a couple of inches of belly sticks out.  So I am going to see if I can get some eyelet lace and attach it to the bottom and try and salvage the top.    This top is fully lined and it was so quick to sew.  I really enjoyed making both of them .  They were so quick.  A little over an hour for each one I'd say.  I used snaps on both of them.  

On to the Christening Gown.    

My oldest sister Anne loves heirloom sewing and makes her daughters not only their Christening gowns but also their special occasion dresses (like Easter, Birthday, and Christmas) using heirloom dress patterns and techniques.  It's not something that I've ever done before.  But Anne's daughter's Christening gowns are beautiful and I am feeling more confident in my sewing.   I decided to make Gummy Bear's gown.  With Anne's support of course.  Anne, by the way, will probalby be so happy when this gown is completed.  I've been asking her lots of questions about these new techniques and she's had to give lots of advice.  Even while on vacation.  Sigh.  I have to say I am really enjoying it.  

The pattern doesn't tell you the specifics.  You have to decide all of that.  Like what size lace do you want to insert in the center panel?  How many pintucks should flank the lace?  How far apart should they be spaced?  How wide should they be?  Well I am not used to that.  So Anne encouraged me to practice first.  And I am so glad I did.  This is a picture of my practice piece.  I decided to go with the smaller 1/8th inch pintucks.   It was also recommended to pull thread to get and keep the pintuck on the grain perfectly.  I love this technique.  I've always struggled with perfect pintucks but this really helps. 

This is the front of the gown.  I have inserted the Swiss Insertion lace and put in one pintuck.  That was this morning's work.  Very mentally tiring!  For now I have the cut the gown to be 36 inches long. In fact this is longer than 36 inches long right now because when you do this sort of work (lace insertion and pintucks) generally you cut out a big block of fabric first,  do all the work, then use the pattern piece to re cut out the piece precisely with everything centered.  So this block of fabric is bigger and longer by a couple of inches each way.  But generally his gown will be between 30-36 inches long.  Let me tell you that is long when you are carefully sewing lace and pintucks!  

A close up.  

So far I love it.  It's not perfect.  But pretty much nothing is right?  I am learning a lot and having fun.  And as Anne says, this is all good practice for when I make Margot's Communion Dress.   If the blog gets quiet for awhile it's because I suspect this will take me WEEKS to complete.  The front will have 6 pintucks (3 on each side).  If all goes well the the sleeves will have tucks and lace insertion and the cuffs will have entredeux and gathered lace around them.  The collar will have entredeux and gathered lace.  And the hem will have more entredeux and lace.  That's a lot of lace!    Then he will need a slip made to be worn underneath.  THAT will be easy though.  But I have to order more fabric...  Anyhow, maybe I'll update with progress pictures of this gown as it's an epic project for me!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

32 Weeks

I was out shopping yesterday and the sales lady asked me when I was due.  When I told her the end of July (actually due in the beginning of August but baby will most likey come in July) she said to me, "Oh you still have a ways to go."  Let me tell you, that is the WRONG thing to say to an almost 32 week pregnant lady who is admittedly huge, hot, and suffering from terrible heartburn.  The CORRECT thing to say is "You're almost there!" or "Wow those last few weeks are going to go fast!" or my favorite, "You look great!".

This was before Church.  I wore heels!  It felt nice to wear heels again.  But it was so hot in Church.  I was pretty miserable.  Anyhow, I had to buy a couple new marternity tops as I am growing OUT of the ones I have.  This always happens to me.  It's nice to be able to buy some new pretty things at the end.  My other two pregnancies  I couldn't really aford to do that.  So it's nice to do it now.  These are the maternity pants I made in the beginning of my pregnancy.  

Margot is wearing her new Rollerskate Dress.  

At nearly 32 weeks I am not moving around as easily as I usually do.  Somedays I am so tired but I still want to sew.  I remembered my ironing board can be lowered.  So I lower it so I don't have to get up out of my chair to iron.  How smart is that?  The only thing that might make this whole set up better is if I had a chair with wheels!   With this little set up,  Everything is in reach and I can sew pretty comfortably.  

This week I was working on a Class Picnic Blouse and Shorts for Margot.  

I love this pattern and have made it so many times.  The shorts are made from Weaver's Cloth.   I love that fabric.  It's just beautiful. 

Here's the finished outfit.  Size 7 for my girl who grows like a weed.  

This week I am trying to size up a little halter top for Grace.  I wanted to make it for Margot but she doesn't like the idea of her belly sticking out.  Grace liked it but the pattern only goes up to an 8.  In Simplicity patterns she's about a 10.  So I think I can do it.  I also have a Garden Party top planned for Margot.  I'd love to get both of these done this week.