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Monday, October 29, 2012

Project: A Scarf for Mama

The week before our girl was born E and I traveled to my favorite local yarn shop to stock up on yarn for the hats I knit for him and myself and also two skeins of yarn for a special gift for my Mamba Jamba. Knowing my hands would be full once baby arrived I took full advantage of that week, finishing all three projects and burning through my yarn in about five days flat. Mamba's birthday was last weekend and when I first learned how to knit about a year and a half ago she requested "a big red scarf". So, for this birthday that is exactly what she received. 



As I am still very much a beginner I am slowly adding in new stitches and techniques as a way to challenge myself and to allow my knitting abilities to grow. This time around I found a beautiful pattern that involved cabling and gave it a go. I'm so glad I did as I love the results and had so much fun with it. I was so intimidated by cabling when I first picked up knitting, but I am so glad I added it in this time because I am in love with the technique and am shocked at how simple it is. Just goes to show that slow and steady can pay off and that I should be patient with myself, adding in more when I am ready and taking things stitch by stitch.

Sara

P.S. This pattern is called Irish Hiking Scarf and more information (plus a link) can be found on my Ravelry Page

Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Adventures: Shaw Nature Reserve

With relatively warm weather and a restless Sara this weekend called for an adventure. Since becoming Botanical Garden members early in the year and finding out about Shaw Nature Reserve, we have been itching to take a visit. Now seemed like as good of time as any to start exploring nature with Iz, so we bundled up, packed a lunch, and set off for the Reserve.


 The entire walk was completely filled with wildflowers, changing leaves, and scuttling squirrels. Iz might not be able to really enjoy it yet, but her Daddy and I were sure to take it all in.

All of the paved areas we came across had these wonderful imprints of various trees, foliage  and animal tracks. I thought that was really neat and something kids would really love as well.

Wearing our baby and the hat I knit just for him? Super hunky. 

This sod house was really interesting to explore (yes, you can go inside) and it rekindled my desire to take a visit to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage during one of their visitor periods. 

There was also a Tipi to explore. It will be so fun to come back here with Iz through the years and for her to learn about these different forms of shelter. 

 Inside the Bascom House we saw this rather large arrowhead collection that had been donated by a volunteer. I will always have a soft spot for arrowheads as hunting for and collecting them was one of my Dad's favorite hobbies and I will always remember those days of stopping by an upturned stretch of land and trekking through the dirt in search of these tiny treasures. 

It was wonderful being there with my sweet girl. I hope she will enjoy nature just as much as we do. I think we're off to a good start.





It was a great afternoon of exploring and we already can't wait to go back. We walked around for a couple hours, but only saw such a small slice of what Shaw Nature Reserve has to offer. With so many acres to explore we will be heading back in the Spring with a bigger baby and a bigger picnic basket. 

Have you been on any fun nature adventures lately? What kinds of things do you do with your kids to help in creating an appreciation for nature? I'd love to hear about it.

Sara

Monday, October 15, 2012

Long Days


I haven't had many moments of two-handed freedom to type here lately as I've had a little miss that is very in need of mama at all hours. This has also left mama awfully tired and exhausted so when there is time to type there isn't the energy to do so. She was doing well at night but the past couple she hasn't been going back to sleep so easily and has instead been up with bouts of what seem to be some pretty painful gas-induced discomforts. Poor gal just can't seem to catch a break with all of that, but we keep trying different things to bring her relief. Hopefully everything will work itself out soon because what kills me more than not having any rest is knowing she is uncomfortable and not being able to provide her with any relief. Advice and tips for helping our gassy girl are very much appreciated. We have homeopathic Chamomilla tablets, have been trying massages/positioning/etc, and I am this close to buying a back of The Windi, but I also think a lot of it will just be us continuing to do these things as her system works on figuring it all out. I only hope it happens quickly because our girl could use some relief and Mama could use a bit of sleep.

Sara

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Busted

My computer decided to conk out on me yesterday so the other postpartum update I wanted to post will have to wait. I'm trying this blogging from my phone bit but it is slow going and not nearly as much fun. Luckily, E is a computer technician so he has already ordered parts and will have Goober Machine back in action before too long. For now Iz and myself are snuggled up on the couch while she sleeps and I read The Happiest Baby on the Block and eat chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. I'm loving life lately and the whole being a Mom gig, definitely glad I signed up for that one.

So, until I'm able to write more I do have one question for anyone who wants to chime in: Halloween costume ideas for Iz?

Sara

Monday, October 8, 2012

Giving Myself Time


The past two days have left me feeling a bit overwhelmed and emotional. My roller-coaster had stalled for a bit as we began to find our rhythm, my hormones had some time to gather their heads, and I had gotten used to E being back to work, yet Iz has begun having little spells each day where she is inconsolable and being her mama, well, that has been rough for me. Wanting to comfort her and give her what she needs but not being able to find that magic key is rough, so very rough, so I hold her, rock her, nurse her, bounce her, walk around the house with her and when E is home we take turns doing such. There is nothing I would not do for this sweet little human and I only hope that with time we will continue to learn each others cues. But for now? For now I will give myself time. Rather than putting unrealized pressure on myself to be and do everything I will just focus solely on being Iz's mama, doing what it takes to care for her and myself during the day and not worrying if nothing is completed beyond that. So, today, rather than hoping for a few minutes to pick up the house or pre-make supper, I cuddled her close and read aloud to us between nursing sessions and bouts of minor freak-outs. Focusing on snuggling her close and taking in her squishy little face pressed against my body, I was able to let go of the stresses and pressures I so often place upon myself and just enjoy every little inch of her beauty and love. For now I will look at this as my own maternity leave of sorts and if three months pass and I find myself needing a little kick in the butt, only then will I put on my biggest boots and give that rump a good whack, but for now, for now I'm just Iz's mama, and that is more than enough. 

Sara

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fatherhood Suits Him Well


Deciding to become a parent was easy for me as I always knew I wanted to be a mother. The only questions in my mind were: Would my body allow me to become pregnant? Who would I be creating these children with? Luckily, nearly five years ago I met the man that would be my answer to that second question. E came along and right away I knew we were a wonderful match and also knew I could see myself having a family with him. His compassion and sensitivity are nearly equal to my own and his even-temper and relaxed attitude inspire me constantly. Luckily, through working on my health and focusing on preparing my body, I was able to become pregnant pretty quickly, and at that point had both of my questions answered, we would now become a family. 

What I couldn't anticipate was how E would awe me as a father. Prior to her arrival, E worked tirelessly preparing our girl's room, worked hard each day of the week to pay the bills, and helped care for our home, furry crew, and his pregnant love in a huge way. He would bring me cups of tiny cubed ice from quik trip, prepare meals for us between working on a project and doing loads of laundry, and still find time to spend one-on-one with me, talking, playing games, and just being close. He attended birth classes with interest and helped to prepare for our home birth and I's arrival in every way he could manage. Throughout labor and her birth he was constantly by my side, helping me along with his words of love and encouragement and nurturing me with drinks, snacks, and touch when I would allow for it. But, when I really saw the father he would become is the moment she was placed into his arms for the first time.

E somehow held it together as our girl was born, as I shed tears, laughed, rambled, and was in a state of disbelief. He looked on with such love and support, but after her cord was cut and I was needing to get up for a moment I placed her in his arms for the first time and saw his eyes fill with such raw love and emotion for his tiny daughter. She was immediately comforted by his warm embrace and seemed right at home in his arms while he seemed right at home having her there. From that point forward he has continually impressed me with his dedication to her and I. There is never guilt or pointing fingers in our home, but a constant stream of support and love in both directions, much of what I owe to E and what he has taught me. He brushes away my feelings of guilt for him having to prepare meals, do laundry, and settle into this new role while still going to work each day. Rather than allowing me to feel that guilt he reminds me that I am working hard too by taking care of our daughter with constant feedings and attention. If I need to cry he allows me that time without pressuring me to give an answer of what's wrong or making me feel crazy. And when I see him holding our baby close? My heart swells and my chest relaxes as I know she is right at home in his arms, as it should be. 

I look forward to seeing them grow together, watching him teach her how to use tools and do laundry, watching them play together, hearing her call him Dad or Papa or whatever title they land on. Growing up I did not have a normal father-daughter relationship and while I love my father for who he was and what he gave to me, he did not have a daily presence in my life and I was never really certain what having a "normal" father was like. I look forward to learning that from E and from watching him and our daughter together. I have no doubts that he will blow my mind and continue to inspire me as we take this journey together. I is so lucky to have him as a dad and I as my partner-in-crime. I will do my best to assure we never take him for granted.

Sara

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Me, Myself and I: 1 Week Postpartum

 Just a few days before Izzy's arrival.

In yesterday's letter to I I touched on how she is doing, but how is the lady who pushed her hefty hiney into the world? To answer that, for being just eight days out from the big event, I think I am doing pretty well. While I only tore some surface tid bits (use your imagination) I didn't have any stitches at all and for that I am thankful. That entire area is still a bit tender but getting better every day and I don't anticipate the discomfort lasting all that long. I'm eager to get out and walking, but will ease into that slowly and give my body the time it needs even if it's hard to hold off. 

Otherwise, the first three or four days post-birth my entire body felt like I had been to a devil of a personal trainer who was out to make every muscle scream. My entire upper body was so sore that I could barely lift my heavy mason jar water jug with one hand and my legs were feeling awfully noodley. Thankfully that has all passed and although standing from certain positions can still be a bit tricky due to the aforementioned tender bits, my body has bounced back with relative ease. One area you can imagine hasn't quite bounced back is the belly, but I am actually really surprised by it. I have heard so much talk of having a jelly belly or still looking pretty pregnant post-birth, but I don't think mine is all that bad. Definitely looser and certainly more scar-covered (stretch-mark city) but I think with healthy eating, lots of water, and exercise when I am able I will be able to shape up that area too. Plus, I was working on getting in better shape prior to becoming pregnant so I'll be anxious to get back to that and to making myself even stronger and more physically fit than before. After giving birth to my girl I feel like I can handle so many physical challenges that I would let get me down before. I know I will not give up so easily in the future when it comes to challenging my body and my mind and I am thankful that labor and birth were such powerful things for me and were healing and restorative in so many ways that I needed.  

Other physical things to note: The boobs are large and in charge and making milk like champs. My skin is so much clearer now and that is a blessing all it's own. I had horrible skin while pregnant, so it's amazing to see it clear up so quickly now that she's here. 

But now, on to the emotions. Whoooa buddy am I an ever emotional lady. My blood is of a variety that already lends itself to being super emotional, just ask my brother who has been known to cry at a Hallmark comercial or two in his time, but boy oh boy are the emotions on overdrive now. From being overly tired, hormonally rollercoastering, and handling all of the challenges that come with being a new mom, E going back to work, taking care of a baby and four critters, and just trying to figure it all out, well, there are some tears that come with all of that. Most of the time all is well and I chug along through the day like a champ, changing diapers, slinging milk, and soaking up every inch of my little love, but when E walks in the door and the night starts setting in it gets a bit trickier. By then my energy stores have dwindled, my belly is most likely growling and I am just so glad to see my husband that it all comes flowing out. I don't feel depressed, just exhausted and teary and I know this is normal and should also balance out like everything else. 

All in all I feel like I'm doing pretty well for where we are at and have to remind myself it has only been a week. I am trying to focus on the little victories and to remember that this time will pass so quickly and soon be a distant memory. I try to remind myself to hold my girl close, enjoy these precious moments, and let the not-so-pleasant ones roll away. Just today I successfully drove our girl to her doctor's appointment all on my own and we made it safe and sound and without much stress along the way. That small step is the first of many that will get us out and about exploring the world together, helping me to find my new normal.

Happy to be a mama and emotional as can be.

Sara