Category Archives: parenting

How I Bribed My Daughter Into Being Born

Yes, you read the title correctly.  I unwittingly bribed my daughter into being born.

A couple of Fridays ago, I was almost a week past my due date and getting more and more nervous about my scheduled induction that coming Monday.  I had been induced before when my labor stalled and really didn’t want to relive the experience.

So after I woke up from a nap that afternoon, I decided to have a little talk with Baby Daisy (her code name). I told her that if she was nice and got things going on her own I would make sure she had a sparkly Halloween costume.  Otherwise, she’d just have a plain ol’ onesie, not even Halloween-themed.  I called my husband to check in on him, told him of the deal I made with Daisy.  I hung up the phone and my water broke.

After I made sure that I had indeed gone into labor, I called my husband, who was pulling into the driveway.  I was laughing hysterically because, I mean…come on…I just bribed my unborn daughter!  And also because I realized I was about to go through childbirth and freaked a little. And I was going to have to somehow come up with a sparkly Halloween costume for an infant.

I still had no contractions, so we waited a while.  I took a shower, got ready (meaning I grabbed a bunch of crap to stuff into my hospital bag that I didn’t really need), spent a little time with my son and ate dinner.  By then I was getting contractions and we decided to head to the hospital.

When we checked in, we were led to the same room where I delivered our son.  And just like with my son, my labor stalled.  The doctor said we could wait until midnight to see if things got going before starting pitocin, but after talking with my husband and doula, I decided I just wanted to get things going instead of freaking out for hours trying to make my body do something that I knew it wouldn’t do.

So I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but pitocin was started around 10:30, really kicked in around midnight, and just after 4 a.m., our beautiful baby girl was born!

Our doula was amazing (you can read about my non-crunchy stance on doulas here), and knew when to be supportive and comforting and when to lay the smack down to get me to focus.  There were times when I didn’t think that I could do it, but with my husbands support (I’m pretty sure I fractured his hand during some of those contractions), and our doula’s coaching, I was able to make it though labor with no other drugs, which made me very happy.

But now the question remains…what will I do for my little girl’s costume?  The tiny infant costumes for sale don’t appeal to me and not a single one is sparkly.  I have something in the works that I hope to share with you soon! Here’s a little sneak peek of the sparkle tulle and sequin extravaganza that is going on between baby feedings:

Stay tuned…

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Words of Wisdom {Nursery Wall Decor}

Confession time: I’m a little scared to raise a little girl.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m excited about having a little girl, all the pink and glitter, ballet classes and general ‘sugar and spice’ that having a girl entails.  It just seems like it’s so hard to be a girl and it’s getting harder.  I keep hearing things like how third graders at a school nearby have lunch group therapy because the cattiness with the girls has gotten so out of control (although that might be the product of helicopter parenting), and I see more and more cattiness and just downright rudeness between little girls.  And women as well.  I mean, let’s just look at the whole mommy wars thing.  Breastfeeding vs. formula, attachment vs. cry-it-out…  We do it to each other. It breaks my heart.  And I don’t know how to raise a kind, smart, confident, creative little girl that will grow to be a strong woman someday.

But dammit, I’m gonna try.

So when I was thinking of what to do in the nursery, I got an idea in my head of having a wall of wisdom, if you will.  I looked for quotes from strong women that would reflect qualities I want my little girl to have – things like kindness, confidence, creativity, doing your best, reading… I thought it would be hard to find enough to fill a wall, but the hard part ended up being narrowing them down.

The project was a lot of fun to do. I rummaged around my house, craft stores and Goodwill to find frames and my hubby and father-in-law spray painted them white.  Once I had an arrangement I liked on the wall, I began designing what went where and how it would look.  I ended up with a few other things that weren’t word frames: a corbal/shelf to which I added a little bud vase with a pink rose, a mirror to add some sparkle to that side of the room (and because it was $2 at Goodwill), and her initial.

To design the word ‘art’, I used a free trial of Adobe InDesign.  I love, love, love the Adobe Creative Suite.  I miss it so much.  I think that’s what kept me at my old job for so long.  Sigh.  But I digress.  I channeled my inner design nerd and spent way too much time playing with fonts, sizes, kerning, spacing and all those fun things I used to do back when I worked 9-5.  Finally, I had each frame the way I wanted it (mostly).  Most I was able to print at home, but there were two that were too big for my printer, so I had them done at Office Max for a whopping $3 or so. I then trimmed everything down to size as needed and popped them into the frames.

It might be hard to see the quotes in the photo, so if you are interested, this is what is up there (for now, at least):

1. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. – Marie Curie

2. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn

3. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

4. Let us always greet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. – Mother Teresa

5. You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

6. No me embarco sin galleta. – my grandma (this means “I won’t get on a boat without a cracker/cookie” in Spanish, meaning to always be prepared and being able to take care of yourself.  She said this all the time, and we take this advice to heart, literally and figuratively.  My husband who travels a lot will now not get on a plane without crackers based on her advice.  My grandma passed away this summer, so it’s nice to have a little piece of her in my little girl’s room.)

7. …something magical happens when you read a book. – JK Rowling

8. A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel

Admittedly, some of these have been all over pinterest and aren’t exactly novel, but they all speak to me.  What I couldn’t find were quotes on travel/seeing the world, but got some travel-inspired prints for another wall in the room to give her that sense that there’s a world beyond our little town.

Here’s another look from further away. I love how it’s part of the cozy little corner where I’ll be rocking her for hours  and hours.

I’ll admit that having these quotes on a wall in a room for a baby who can’t read may not make her a strong woman later on in life, but at the very least, it will inspire me to try to live up to these ideals and to work hard to raise a daughter that embodies these sentiments.

There’s a new ‘C-word’ in town.

Yes, my friends.  Around our house, we have a new ‘c-word’.  It’s cooking.

I can’t say it around my son anymore, because he insists on being part of the action.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thrilled that he loves to cook.  I hope to keep his interest going long enough so that someday I can take a break from cooking and give him a night or two a week to cook for the family. I know I’m many years away from that, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Plus, I definitely want my son to know how to cook.  Someday, he’ll be a grown man, and let’s face it girls, a man who can cook for you is just…dreamy.

But it’s starting to be a bit of an issue now because he wants to be part of everything cooking-related.

I started ‘cooking’ with him when he was just over a year old.  I let him spread sauce and sprinkle cheese when we made pizzas, or add cinnamon to his oatmeal – simple tasks like that.  His preschool did more adventurous stuff with the kids – making ice cream, churning butter, letting them ‘measure’ and mix instant pudding and crush cookies to make dirt cups, etc.  When he turned two, I took in cake mix and the kids made their own cupcakes.  It was so cute and way more fun than just handing them cupcakes.  But his love of cooking has hit new heights in the past few months.  It’s an obsession.

Recently, I’ve gotten more adventurous and have tried to let his love of cooking benefit me.  He’s more than capable of mixing pancake mix and scrambling eggs, so I let him do those tasks while I get other things ready.  And I love having my little buddy around in the kitchen.  As soon as I take a cutting board out, he pulls a chair up to the kitchen island and stands on it, and asks me questions like “How many cups, mama?” or “I cut this now?” which I think is so cute.  I give him plastic measuring cups and dry beans so he can ‘cook’ with me when there’s nothing that he can do, but he’s starting to catch on and insisting on being part of the real action.

The thing is, I can’t always have a two-year-old helping in the kitchen.  I don’t want him around raw meat, or close to knives and stuff.  And sometimes I just need to get stuff done.  But as soon as the ‘c-word’ is mentioned, he runs to the kitchen and starts grabbing stuff.  I’m to the point where I avoid the word if at all possible, instead saying ‘mama’s making dinner’ or ‘getting food ready to eat’ and sneaking around when I’m getting dinner ready.  Which is hard because our house has a very open floor plan, so I can’t really hide anything.

Here’s a great example: just a minute ago, he went up to the counter and turned off the slow cooker, gleefully saying “Mama! I’m cooking!” as he turned the knob round and round.  Cute.

We got him a little play grill so he can cook on his own, and I have a strong feeling that Santa will bring him a play kitchen this year. But if he’s not convinced by Tupperware and dry beans while he’s standing next to me, I’m not expecting the toy kitchen to work as a distraction when I need it. He’s okay right now.  I can say “Mama has to do this part, it’s too dangerous for you right now.”  and he’ll reluctantly watch me finish up. But I can tell he’s getting more and more stubborn and wanting to do more (as witnessed by his encounter with the crock pot).

So, how do you handle kids in the kitchen so that you can do what you need to do but still keep them involved?  What are your favorite dishes to cook with your kids?

The Case for Doulas (from a non-crunchy mom)

My doula holding my newborn son, and me with about 85 lbs. (not really) of IV fluid and pregnancy bloat back in ’02.

Check! One more thing on my pre-baby to-do list has been completed!  I have hired a doula!

Now, I know many of you just went “Uh…doula? as in ‘feel your womanly birthing power and smell the patchouli, doctors are bad and hospitals are evil so you should just squat in a field’ kind of doula?”  It’s okay.  I used to think the same thing before I got pregnant with my son and I met an awesome doula.  She had been a labor and delivery nurse for most of her career and when she retired, became a childbirth educator and doula.  She had the medical background and knew her way around a hospital and enjoyed helping families welcome their new babies.  Her job was to help me and my husband do what we thought best for our labor experience, whatever that was for us.  She believed that ‘interventions’ aren’t always necessary, that the body is equipped to handle birth, but that medical technology can be very helpful and there are times when you do need them. So I was crushed to find out that she wasn’t available for my due date with this pregnancy.

What made me decide to have a doula in the first place? Basically, I felt unprepared. I thought about what it would be like once I got to the hospital, just me and my husband in a room dealing with contractions and who knows what else.  Then, while watching football one weekend, it dawned on me that a star quarterback won’t do so much as throw a ball without a coach telling him how and where to do it, nor will an Olympic swimmer swim a lap without a coach timing it and critiquing his strokes, so what makes me think that I can do something as monumental as bringing a human being into the world without a professional there to guide me?

Personally, I am thankful for the technology we have today.  I don’t want a home birth. I want to be close to an OR if I need a c-section or have some other complication.  I want pain meds available if I reach a point where I truly believe I need them.  But I do think that a lot of times medical professionals tend to jump to interventions a little too quickly.  And frankly, although the nurses and staff in the L&D wing are great, they have too much on their plates to give each person in there a ton of individualized attention, especially with this crazy baby boom that seems to be going on right now.  I like the idea of having someone there for me, watching out for what I need.

My doula experience was great. After the first couple of contractions in the hospital, my doula said “In all my life I’ve only seen a few people that should labor in a rocking chair and you are one of them.”  She left the room and came back a few minutes later, dragging a rocking chair with her.  I spent most of the rest of my labor comfortably rocking and sleeping, despite pitocin and nausea.  She knew tricks that I hadn’t seen in any labor book that really helped me be comfortable during a very long labor.

Her help continued in a million different ways that my husband and I could have never thought, like explaining to me how different medications that were offered worked so we could make our own decisions, telling me about the doctor I ended up with (one from my practice wasn’t available that day), allowing my husband to have breaks, keeping me hydrated, taking notes of what happened throughout labor and delivery, and most importantly, reminding the nurses that I hadn’t had a chance to hold the baby yet as they were getting ready to take him for some tests (everything was fine – he was just a little stunned after delivery and they wanted to watch him to make sure his breathing evened out).

I went into labor with a ‘let’s see how it goes’ attitude, and hoping I wouldn’t need an epidural or a c-section, not because I am against them, but mostly because I am scared of them and how I believe my body would react.  Not for a minute did I think I was going to have a stalled labor that would require pitocin, nor get such bad nausea that I’d be in danger of dehydration.  Having a pro there helped me take everything one step at a time, be able to discuss my options and in the end, have a positive labor experience.  I honestly think that if I didn’t have her there, I would have felt like I somehow ‘gave in’ and agreed with the doctors instead of feeling like I made the choices that I wanted, even though I think it would have been the same.  Does that make sense? And yes, despite the pitocin and everything else, I was able to make it without the epidural.  Largely because I had a team (my hubby and my doula) to support me.

So you can imagine how sad I was to find out my doula wasn’t available. After some research, and with the high recommendation from a friend, I have finally found another non-crunchy doula practice that I am excited about.  It is clear that they fully support a mom’s choices and are thereto help us make decisions that are right for us and support us through labor.  Exactly what I want.  I love this excerpt from the contract:

“will provide emotional support, physical comfort, and facilitate communications with your healthcare provider so that you have the information you need to make informed decisions.”

No patchouli or twinkle lights, no ‘feel your birthing power’ mumbo jumbo, no anti-med jargon, no judgement on choices.  Just support and advice during a process that can be scary and confusing. Much like how people get a real estate lawyer for house closings or hire wedding planners to make sure everything goes as planned.  It’s not something you do every day, so why not have someone who does be there to guide you?

And here is where I begin my plea: I think a lot of people are like me.  They want the safety net of a hospital and are thankful that we have such good technology, but want an advocate for them – someone who is there for them, looking out for  what works for them.  I don’t think people want the uber-crunchy doulas who bring in rain dances and twinkle lights and are against medical procedures (despite their assurances to not be judgemental), but are looking for more of a coach and partner.  So please,  if you are a nurse or a nurturing person with a heart of gold, and aren’t uber crunchy, look into being a doula/labor coach.  The world needs more non-crunchy doulas.

Remember me?

Long time, no see, huh?  Well, there’s a reason for that.  We are expecting a new addition to our family in October!  Yes, it’s exciting, but morning sickness has left me doing a lot of this:

Yup.  I’ve spent most of my days lately snuggling on the couch with my little man and watching way too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Neverland Pirates (which, by the way, my son calls “Yo Ho Ho” ~ how cute is that?).  I’ve been pretty much rendered useless and am mostly surviving on Nutella (cuz it’s a good source of protein, natch.) and an assortment of tart candy.

All this has made me think about this blog and shop and where I want it to go.  Seeing what’s coming my way, I just can’t fully commit to a handmade shop full of awesome stuff, although I still want to share my craft with the world, but I don’t want to fill my shop with easy things to sew that you can find millions of with a quick online search.  I have so many ideas for products that I don’t see on the market, but I just don’t have the energy to bring them to life.  I barely have the energy to hide eggs for an Easter egg hunt – piecing together and figuring out how to make something from an image that’s floating around in my brain is kind of not an option right now.

I enjoy writing and being creative, so I think I’ll expand this blog to be about more than just sewing and more about finding creative ways to live – it’s been that way anyway.  I have some great things coming up this summer that I want to share.  And it’s not going to turn into a mommy/pregnancy blog (not totally, at least).

So stick with me as I get out of my morning sickness funk, and start creating and living again.  I think you’ll like it.

FunTime Friday

When I had a job (meaning one that kept my bank account nice and happy – we all know being a SAHM is more work than pretty much any ‘job’ out there), Fridays were awesome.  I worked at a church, which meant that most staff members worked on Sunday, so Fridays were just a skeleton crew around the office.  So we had fun.  I started my day off with a latte (the only one I allowed myself each week), I got to see my awesome volunteers, and we usually ordered something good for lunch and all sat together. We all had work to do, but we just made it fun.  And I miss it.

So I started doing FunTime Fridays with my son.  It happened by accident, but now I’m embracing it as a ‘thing’ we do. Each Friday, I try to line up something above and beyond our normal routine.  It’s not like I sit around all day with him watch TV.  We color, read, count, and sing.  We play with play doh, play inside, play outside, play with trucks, play with blocks.  We watch a little bit of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and do the Hot Dog Dance a million times in a row. I try to keep him active, but I just don’t have the mind power to plan super days every day.

But I wanted to do something really cool with him once a week.  Something different from the norm.  Something that would celebrate the moments of our lives (fake coffee anyone?).

So far, our FunTime Fridays have included play dates, lunch with Dada, making and eating Jell-O jigglers (hence the photo above), some messy crafting, and a trip or two to the kids’ museum.  His pre-school has started doing ‘learn at home’ activities (aka: homework for two-year-olds ~ yikes!), so those will also be part of our Fridays. I have a few other ideas that I hope to do soon like:

How do you get creative with your kids?  I’d love to hear some ideas!