Friday, August 31, 2012


I now have a nice little stockpile of boy clothes, washed, folded and put away in The Boy's dresser.  I bought most of the outfits at Once Upon a Child, and then washed them in white vinegar (and detergent) when I realized that they all smelled like Gain (and since 3 out of 4 people in our house are very, very allergic to Gain and fabric softener).  Despite going through twice, I was still a little worried since they still smell like the detergent.  I'm hoping they're okay now (Mae was still getting welts after I used Gain once, when I had washed the clothing like five times... I'm hoping the vinegar took care of that though.).  

Anyways, here is the dresser.  I laughed a bit when I put the clothing away, because back in the day, when I was pregnant with Sadie, I filled an entire closet and giant dresser with baby girl clothes (we did receive a ton of hand me downs, but I also went totally overboard with my baby girl dress buying).

This dresser is less than half the size of Sadie's old dresser and it easily fits all of our boy clothes, with room left over.  And with the two drawers on top still empty with room for socks and hats and diapers.

I feel like we have most of what we need for The Boy.  I've learned a bit over the years.  So far I only have one newborn outfit in my stash of baby clothes, because we have never had a "newborn" sized baby.  I was actually shocked to find the newborn outfit, and have to admit that I was sucked in by a cute teddy bear and corduroy fabric.  And since we usually outgrow the 0-3 and 3 month outfits in the first few weeks, I tried not to pick up too many of those either (I think Mae is wearing a 3 month outfit in her hospital pictures...).

The picture below shows out newborn, 0-3 and 3 month outfits.  About 1/4 of the drawer is made up of long sleeved fleece sleep sacks that I'm hoping will be useful when we're out and about this winter and the temperature is Michigan cold (I am so incredibly excited about the upcoming cooler temperatures!).  Thankfully they're 0-12 month in size (theoretically):

Here's the 3-6 month section.  I was really excited that I found a Red Sox track suit at Once Upon a Child.  I expect, as long as baby stays put full term, that he'll be wearing these pretty quickly, if he follows in his sisters' footsteps.

Sadie has picked out almost all of the new clothes that we've purchased.  She's learned to spot the clothes with the red clearance tags at Meijer, since clearance is pretty much the only way I'm going to be buying anything new.   She finds the red tags and picks out little boy outfits and shows them to me and explains that she's worried that he's going to be cold here in Michigan (during the last few trips I've kept her away from the baby clothes section altogether).

Lastly here are the 6-12 month outfits that already slipped into my shopping cart.  They mostly made it in during the Once Upon a Child shopping trip, when there was a special clearance sale and most of the outfits were only $1 (and we were selling them a huge bag full of toys that didn't make the move with us).  Most of these are in the six to nine month range, since I was fairly certain it will still be cold when the baby is wearing those.

And of course, I have to show the girls' closet.  Now that we have a basement I was able to put a lot of the outfits down in boxes.  These outfits are the size 2-6x range that we have, with the 2s just about ready to make the move downstairs since Mae has pretty much outgrown them.

First Day of School Picnic Dinner

As Paul's first day of school came to a close I came up with an idea for a special surprise dinner to meet him when he arrived at home.  I'd made one of our favorite beef recipes with garlic bread and spaghetti and a special dessert, and even found a bottle of sparkling grape juice we've had for who knows how long.  When he arrived we all moved outside into the backyard for a picnic dinner (the girls thought it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened).  

Paul snapped this first picture as I began to carry out the food:

The beef is kind of like a chicken friend steak or chicken parmesan recipe, with cube steak (I love making this style steak, since it turns out so well after quit bit of work, and usually ends up costing around $1.5 per steak, making it a reasonable treat in a month of rice and beans):

I accidentally snapped this picture and then liked how the juice looked and kept it:

And then it was time for dessert!  This recipe was very tweaked by the time it was finished, with oatmeal and graham crackers, and was a definite hit with the family.  I've been in a baking mood lately...

Now, on the nights when Paul is home from school, I'm aiming for eating outside every night, to escape the heat that the oven generates, since it easily raises the kitchen (which is next to the dining room) into the 90s while I'm cooking.  Slaving over a hot stove has a whole new meaning, however I'm fairly certain that cooking in an un-air conditioned house, when it's 90 degrees outside, is a huge calorie burner and a workout similar to spending an equal amount of time at the gym!  I'm sure I'm going to love this gas stove come winter... but right now... wow.  It is hot!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Baby Raccoon and Baby Skunk

Sadie: "Mommy, I want to be a raccoon for Halloween."

Me: "Okay."
Sadie: "And then Mae Bae can be a skunk!"
Paul: (from the other room): "No. Your sister is not going to be a skunk for Halloween."
Sadie: (after a pause): "Mommy, I want to be a princess."
So apparently being a raccoon is only appealing if it means that Mae is going to be a skunk?

The Nursery

Yesterday before nap time I put the baby boy clothes that I've been collecting away into their cute little red drawers, in the tiny baby dresser, and the nursery is now officially completed.

The nursery is actually the largest of the bedrooms in our house (by far).  But since two beds and a crib needed to fit in, along with toys and clothes, it seemed like the only sensible option.  We're pretty happy with the outcome.  And Mae Bae has moved over into her big girl bed, and having made the transition, is now sleeping through the night again (after a week of really struggling with it)!

There you have it.  I'm still rounding up the last few boxes that need to be sorted and go down to the basement (most of the work that remains is in the "Master Bedroom."  I'm ready for that extra nesting energy to kick in.  It hasn't quite arrived yet.

Paul Ryan and the Media

When Paul arrived home last night from a night at the library I jokingly said:  "I have to admit that I have a little bit of a crush right now."  Paul laughed and said:  "What did Paul Ryan do now?" probably because I've mentioned lately how half of my friends on facebook have admitted to Paul Ryan crushes in the past weeks.

But really, I  thought his speech last night was pretty awesome.

Which was why the comments I heard, both beforehand and afterwards were so typical of the media and yet mind boggling.

You see, after Ryan was formally announced as Romney's running mate, I was watching some early morning news program online.  The thing I dislike about this particular media player, is that it cuts away from the Today show and splices in MSNC clips pretty frequently.

Anyways, as I listened to the news while I got ready, several commentators began to speak about Ryan Paul and how he was such a weak choice because he was a poor speaker.

Now I did instantly doubt the truth in those words, but I'll also admit that I get most of my news through reading about what's going on, not watching it, and I hadn't heard Paul Ryan speak enough to say whether or not the claim was true.  And let's face it: Biden got through as VP somehow... and every time the man opens his mouth the White House has to scramble to clarify "what he meant to say.."  So I guess anything's possible.

Last night I sat on the couch sewing, waiting for Paul to get home and wondering if they set off fire works every night year round in our neighborhood (I have a feeling they definitely do on game nights!), when Paul Ryan took the stage at the RNC and began to speak.

And I have to say that I went from being about two minutes away from switching off the channel, to practically cheering with the crowd.  His speech was awesome.  A few highlights included:

‎"None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us."

and from ABC:

So I was surprised when the convention ended for the night, and the cameras panned over to the commentators for whatever channel I was watching and they began to speak.  You see, since we have a brand new cable package, I'm not quite clear on what affiliate of what station is on each particular channel.  They all have their own little affiliate names on the guide, and I don't watch enough TV to be able to tell you quite yet which is ABC or NBC or CBS by the number or by the local names.  I had chosen the channel I was going to watch last night, because, when I turned on the TV after the girls were in bed and I'd sewed five snoods and had taken them downstairs to finish the sides by hand, it was the only one of the lower channels, that was already showing the convention.  The others were still half an hour away from beginning coverage.

Yet as the commentators began to speak, I had to wonder what on Earth I was watching.  They launched straight into an attack on Ryan and his "awkwardness" and how he had at least managed to warm up at the end.  I wondered if we'd been watching the same speech.  After ten minutes of talking about how he'd at least managed to improve at the very end, and had seemed a tiny bit less nervous after quite a long time, the program ended and I realized I'd been watching public television.

No agenda there (sarcasm).

I get really, really tired of how skewed every single news program has become these days.  I'm even more tired of seeing Prince Harry's body flashed across the screen every time I turn on the TV looking for the news.  I mean really.  I'd like to see the weather for tomorrow.  I'd like to have an idea of how hot the house is going to get and whether or not I'm going to be rushing around cooking so I can turn the oven off before the house is a hundred degrees.

Ryan's speech was awesome, but I'm ready for November.  And maybe by then the media will be done with the Harry picture obsession of the moment and it will be safe to turn the TV on again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Snood Shop News!

I had fun tonight updating my snood shop.  The shop had been listed by fabric type (for snoods), but as the number of headbands and convertible coverings grew and as I'd added patterns, it began to make sense to find a different way to organize my shop.  I'd toyed with the idea of creating shop sections based on color.  Tonight I made the change and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

And it helps me to see where I need to add to the shop and what I should be working on as the seasons change and certain colors become more popular in autumn and winter.

Here are the sections, for those of you who are curious:

I'm coming up with new ideas for the holidays and for fall.  My biggest problem at the moment is that I have so many ideas and so little time!

Vatican II and the "Spirit" of Confusion that Followed

Catholic Meme's on facebook has me chuckling on a daily basis and this morning was no exception when I refreshed my page and saw this:

You see, when I first converted to Catholicism, I was very confused about the whole Vatican II "thing."  The problem was that I'd heard that the Church was "against" all of these things, like contraception and whatnot, back in the day, and then I went through our Engaged Encounter and RCIA and never heard them mentioned a single time and I'd heard that Vatican II had "changed things."  So I figured, Vatican II had changed them.  I mean, if it hadn't wouldn't I still be hearing something about them?

A wise, soon to be retired, priest that I knew, did tell me a few times when we were talking that the council really hadn't changed very much, but those words didn't match up with what I was seeing on a day to day basis.  Of course it had changed things, otherwise, how could the present look the way that it did?

As I learned more about Catholicism and began reading everything I could get my hands on, I swung back the other way, with a feeling of annoyance towards the second Vatican Council, because it almost seemed as if I had been lied to.  The Church still taught these things.  And the changes I was seeing that were explained as a result of the council, the holding hands guitar masses that had apparently replaced whatever came before (at least in my area) rankled my introverted personality.  So many people I hardly knew hugging me and grabbing my hands to hold them, made Mass a sort of hour long trial.

Still I pushed on, determined to find out more about my new faith than I'd absorbed pre-Confirmation.  I was learning through my own studies, and learning by proofreading Paul's papers for his Master's of Theology program and talking with him about his classes, but the moment that stands out to me as a game changer in my understanding of the Council was on a long, winding drive into the city for our weekly shopping trip, when I offered to read to Paul from a giant stack of Vatican II documents that he needed to finish for a giant research paper that he was working on.

As I read out loud, I found myself shocked.  These papers didn't say anything like what I expected them to say.  I didn't disagree with what they said in the least.  And I certainly didn't see how they could have been used, in the way that they've been used.

I felt like I'd been watching skewed AP reports of political speeches, and now, reading the actual documents, found that everything I thought I'd known had been taken out of context, twisted and created to make something that certain people fondly referred to as "the Spirit of the Vatican II."

I found that certain documents had a bit more "spirit" than others, since they seemed to be sited to "prove" that the "spirit" had meant something that it clearly didn't mean if you actually read an entire paragraph in context, instead of picking a choosing the parts that fit a certain argument.

And I began to think of Pope Paul VI as a sort of council action hero, stopping nonsense before it could spiral too far out control when certain zany groups tried to insert the cultural kool-aid into Council documents (I was amazed that the man could use a footnote to smack down an errant group who seemed intent on leading the Church into a grave error).

No, I don't think that the documents from the second Vatican Council quite say what most people think they say.  They do show that if we really, really want to see something somewhere, we can delude ourselves into finding it in the "spirit" of a council and then using that spirit for decades as a battering ram against tradition and beauty.  But in the end, the secret is bound to get out, when people who know the truth, or who are searching for the truth, start flipping through pages, without an ulterior motive and realize that those same pages just don't say the things they've been used to prove over the decades.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

People are Strange: On Headcoverings and Skirts

I was in a pretty good mood when I went to Joann's this weekend with a 60% off one cut of fabric coupon.  I was in an even better mood when I made it to the front counter with only on cut of fabric.  Usually I get sucked in and end up with a full cart.  This time I went straight to the silk section, grabbed  a bolt, had four yards of the chocolate colored silk that I can't keep in stock in my store cut, and headed to the front counter to stand in a long line, coupon in hand.  But I'd made it.  I even bypassed the candy section that I had to stand next to and didn't buy a single piece of candy.

Then I reached the front counter and a grumbly looking checker who had been loudly complaining about her break.  I smiled and tried to be extra nice.  And then:

Checker:  "So, what are you making?"
Me (still cheerful):  "Headcoverings."  And then, at the look that followed, feeling the need to clarify more fully.  "Snoods," I made a little circular motion around my head as I said the words.
Checker:  "Oh!  I would never, never wear one of those.  I don't know how women do that."
Me: (I laughed, and tried to smile politely, not sure exactly what to say, and not able to get out: "it's not for everyone," before she continued.)
Checker:  "It's like those women who wear skirts al the time.  I would never do that."
Me:  (More laughter as I glanced down at my homemade maternity skirt).  And finally:  "Okay, thank you.  Have a nice day."

It was only then, by her silence and expression that I began to realize that she actually had meant to be rude.

People are strange.

I know I've heard plenty of explanations, but I've never quite grasped how my wearing a skirt (and I wasn't even wearing a headcovering at that time, although it wouldn't have been unusual here.  I pass women in headcoverings of various sorts, from scarves to burkas every single day), threatens or angers other women.  I just don't get it.

I guess we're just all free to be exactly the same, right?

My Pregnancy Struggle at Mass

I should have known, when I brought down Sadie's Easter dress so that she could wear it to Mass on Sunday, that she would suddenly want to wear a veil along with it.  I've seen the pattern that directly relates the white dress and veil to the vague possibility that today she might be old enough to receive communion and that, along with the gold crucifix that she asked to wear, made her seem a bit older than her barely four years (being the size of a seven year old doesn't hurt either).

It also meant that she was "on her best behavior," repeatedly telling me so before and after Mass, while pointing out wistfully that Mae Bae was not.

In reality, Mae Bae did do pretty well for a two year old.  She sat still for an entire forty five minutes before she began to point at my snood while squealing:  "Ma's Hat!  Ma's Hat! with a giggle followed by "Me, me, me, me!" Moments later she was being held in the back by Daddy.  But forty five minutes of silence wasn't bad and I've noticed that she seems to be quiet for a bit longer on average each month.

Lately I've struggled at Mass in an odd way, that I'm sure is a mixture of pride, in feeling that I ought to be able to do things that I can't do at the moment, along with some sort of worry that people must think I'm just plain lazy, when in reality no one likely notices at all and topped of with pregnancy hormones, because, let's face it, they're surging through my body pretty much all the time.  And then there's frustration, because Sadie is at the point where she really wants to do everything I do during Mass, and she wants to kneel when I kneel and she folds her hands exactly as mine are folded, and here I am swooning every ten seconds, about to hit the floor, and not being the greatest of examples.

I'm not sure exactly what the combination is that has me on the edge of fainting during every single Mass we attend, when I'm pregnant.  I would have said that it was the 90 degree heat in the basement of the cathedral (okay, "crypt"), but even when it's perfectly temperature I struggle.  And it's not just the third trimester giganticness, because it happened throughout the first, second and third trimesters of each of my pregnancies.

You'd think I'd be used to it by now:  Just sit down.  Don't try to kneel.  Even if you feel fine when you get there.  It's not a good idea.  It will go badly.  It always goes badly.  And no one wants to have to call an ambulance, because that would disrupt Mass.  No, don't stand up.  Standing up after trying to kneel like an idiot, which you shouldn't have done anyways, is now on the list of things that will cause the room to tilt wildly and shoot up 20 degrees.  Just sit still and hold Mae's little hand.  

I know these things.  I've been pregnant for roughly 30 months over the past five years.  It happens every time we go to Mass.  It must be the sit, stand, kneel combo (particularly the kneel part).  But it leaves me frustrated because, when I feel fine, I feel like I should be kneeling and apparently forget what I've learned over the course of those thirty months.  And I find myself thinking that if that eighty five year old woman can kneel for half an hour, I should at least be able to kneel for five minutes (see, that's where the pride comes in).

That seems to be the thing I struggle with the most during pregnancy: not doing little things that seem like they should be easy, but which for some reason, are beyond me at the moment.

This week I'll try harder to remember the lessons I've learned over the past few years.  And hopefully my stubborn "I can do this" attitude will be overcome with common sense... at least so that I don't find Paul looking at me nervously, and whispering:  "You can sit down!"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Patrick's Saints: My Second Saint Doll Box

I just finished my second saint doll box.  I wanted to try a boy themed box, even though our little boy is years away from playing with peg saints.  It's not quite finished, I still need to paint the inside, pick one more saint for the back square of the box and glaze it, but here it is after two hours of work last night:

On the front I put the saint Patrick is named for:

Paul had requested Saint Joseph be on the box:

Saint George definitely took the longest to paint... by quite a bit:

And of course I had to add Saint Michael:

Here's another look at the box from further back:

And one last picture:

I'm leaning towards painting Saint Francis Xavier on the last side of the box.

I can't wait to see what it's going to look like when it's finished!  And I'm excited to get a few more of these boxes at Hobby Lobby because I really like how the shape of this one turned out!  It could hold an entire little army of saint dolls and would be perfect for little toddler hands.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mae Bae: Still Not Impressed...

There's a ride at one of Sadie's favorite stores in Michigan that costs one penny per ride.  She is a big fan (and thus it make Meijer her favorite store after Hobby Lobby, since nothing can beat staring wistfully at doll houses).  While she rides she sings the song from the beginning of Sleeping Beauty:

We thought that Mae would be excited too.  She loves riding on the rocking horse at home.

Instead... she actually seemed pretty embarrassed.  

As if she wanted to shout after ten seconds:  "Mom, Dad, I've had enough... get me off of this thing..."

She definitely wasn't impressed:

The Dandelion Drama and Our Saint Francis Statue

It's not always easy being a big sister.  Especially when your little sister sometimes feels like being destructo-baby (which since she's two, tends to be less "sometimes" and more like "all the time.").

Yesterday we headed out into "The Meadow" and Mae ran over to pick a dandelion.  Then she tried to put it back and was rather upset when it wouldn't reattach to the stem:

Sadie thought that picking flowers sounded like a great idea and quickly joined in the fun.

Then she decided that the perfect place for the flowers was the Saint Francis statue's basket.  And so she began bringing handful after handful of dandelions over and carefully placing them in the basket.

I should have seen it coming.  Sadie is carefully arranging flowers.  Is there any questions of what Destructo-Baby is going to do the moment those flowers are unguarded?

Sadie was not amused by her little sister antics.  She carefully picked the flowers back up and replaced them.

Yesterday we went out to play and Sadie went back to picking flowers and putting them in the basket.  This time, however, she was a bit more suspicious:

Rightfully so it seems.

Mae Bae waited until everyone's backs were turned (Daddy was snapping pictures of snoods for Mommy) and the next thing I knew Daddy was saying:  "Mae Bae, was that really necessary?" and the dandelions were back on the ground.

I have a feeling this might be a daily event.  At least until they've picked every single dandelion in our yard.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A New Creation: Jeweled Snoods

The last week of our visit in California I had an idea.  I'd been blessed with being able to visit with my friend who's battling cancer frequently in the weeks of our trip, and I'd been able to make her a variety of snoods as the side effects of chemo began to appear.  

But I wanted to make something special before we left, and since this friend always wore beautiful jewelry I decided to add a bit of sparkle to a silk snood.  I wasn't sure how it would look, or feel, so I was a bit nervous as I sewed the bead in place.  In the end it was perfect and she couldn't feel the jewel at all.  

So on the cross country trip I began my jeweled snood project.  I also began experimenting with tieless snoods, since I'd realized that the ties could be a struggle for some, and a tieless option was definitely needed.  

These two snoods are the first I've listed, and they're two of my favorites.  I deconstructed an earring that I had bought years ago at an antique shop for the first snood (which is one of a kind!).  After much debate I sewed it on the center of a white satin snood, that was a perfect match.

And here's a look at a tieless jeweled snood (the dupioni silk looks so different in this super close up picture).  I actually had to keep one of these for myself!  It just feels so elegant!

The prices of my jeweled line of snoods (which I plan on adding to!) will depend heavily on the jeweled pieces I find.  I expect that quite a few of these will be one of a kind like the white satin snood above as I search out antiques (I still have a second earring that matches the white satin one... bu I haven't quite decided how I'm going to use it yet!).

And so those are my latest two snood projects!

Now if only Mae Bae hadn't kept me up so much last night!  I look so sleepy in the pictures we snapped today!

Birth Center? Hospital? Decisions, Decisions...

Yesterday I learned exactly what sort of a coward I am when it comes to childbirth.

Or at least, that's how it felt.

You see, I've longed to be able to go to a birth center.  And when I heard about birth centers attached to hospitals I would sigh dreamily and think that I would totally do that.  But the birth centers near me have always been out of reach... far off impossibilities and while I could dream of the loveliness it was always obvious, after three minutes on a website, that I wasn't the kind of patient that they took on.  No high risk patients, No VBACS has been common wherever we've been.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I had one major goal (and a whole bunch of little tiny goals):  Find a new doctor and set up an appointment as soon as possible.  After all, we're rapidly approaching 30 weeks.

I had already done some research online before we moved, but upon finding out that the hospital that's really close to our house does have an OB section, I began checking out the statistics and doctor's website at that hospital.

ICAN says that the hospital near our house told them that ever single OB at the hospital does VBACs.  Okay.  Did some have better results than others?

I began to look at parenting boards to see if there were doctor suggestions.

And that's when I saw it.  A woman suggesting a birth center, not far from our home, who explained that she had had a VBA2C at the center, and that they specialized in VBACs.


Because, you know, I've always thought I would enthusiastically jump at a chance like that... and yet I found myself pausing and thinking of the 2% chance of uterine rupture that I now face.  And while one part of me couldn't help but think that 98% are mighty good odds, the other part said, if you're part of that 2% you better hope you're in the hospital.

Maybe it's the fact that I've been on that 2% losing side before, first with Sadie's birth (because CPD is so rare) and then with miscarrying after 12 weeks when I'd just been breathing that long awaited second trimester sigh of relief.  It's made me more cautious.  I've had the odds be dramatically in my favor and had that sliver of a chance turn into reality.

At the same time I don't like the statistically increasing risk of c-section after c-section either.  In fact I like that much, much less.  

In the end I closed the birth center page and called a doctor's office.  And then another.  And then another.  And then finally, the University, where I now have an OB who'll see me.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  And felt like a wimp.  I think I need to go read some more Ina May...

I'm holding out hope, yet again, that at a hospital that claims that all of it's OBs do VBACs, I might actually be allowed to try...  I guess we'll have a better idea after my appointment on the 4th!