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Month: March 2016

name madness results

name madness results

Many many thanks to everyone who participated in our Name Madness contest! We had 30 entries. Without further ado, the winner is:

Stephanie Bassett!

She scored 77 out of 120 points.

Second Place goes to Jarom and Brittany Blackhurst (58/120), and third to Matthan Heiselt (52/120).

Honorable mention goes to Sharra Grow, Allison Crockett, Eric Heiselt, and Simon Heiselt, all of whom scored above 40 points.

Stephanie, I’ll be in touch to get your address and send you your prize!

And just because, more photos of Mr. Felix:

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tooth-less

tooth-less

Oliver is such a funny little boy. When we realized his tooth was loose a few weeks ago, he suddenly became unable to eat or speak normally. He spoke with his mouth closed and went back and forth between needing apples and carrots and not being able to chew even the softest foods.

He was also surprisingly daring in his determination to actually get his tooth out. Simon was completely disinterested in speeding up the process in anyway, but Oliver was game to wiggle his tooth on his own and even have Micah have a go at it. This is shocking for a boy who becomes completely disabled if has even a small scrape on his little finger.

But despite his daring, it was actually one night last week as he was brushing his teeth that it happened. He put his toothbrush in his mouth and his tooth clattered to the floor. We were all thrilled for him.toothlessoliver

And he was pretty great about the tooth fairy as well. Before he went to bed he poked his head out a couple of times to give us a status update on where he and the tooth would be in case we were curious. The tooth was in his stuffed turtle’s (Shuffles) mouth. And both he and Shuffles would be sleeping on Simon’s bed.

His excitement/direction paid off because the tooth fairy, who has been known to not show up several nights in a row when Simon has lost teeth, was very prompt in leaving some cash for the boy.

birth story #4: felix

birth story #4: felix

As we were going to bed on Wednesday night I mentioned to Micah that for some reason I was expecting labor, whenever it started, to begin at 2am. And then I thought for a minute more and realized that there was good reason for that: I woke up with contractions at 2am(ish) the day Simon was born. My water broke at 2am the day Oliver was born. And again, I woke with contractions at 2am the day Elsa was born.

So 2am is, apparently, when my body decides the baby is coming or not.

Still, I didn’t really think that it would be the very next 2am.

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I had been having fairly mild, irregular contractions for a few days. This was frustrating and discouraging because it had happened when Oliver was born and they had gone on for a couple of weeks. I was really nervous about going through two weeks of thinking every contraction was the start of something big, only to be disappointed again and again.

But then again, Oliver had been sick with a high fever for a couple of days as well and so it seemed like not a great time to give birth anyway. (The upside of that was that with him home from school, I was able to get a lot more rest and by Wednesday I felt more rested and ready to give birth than I had in weeks.) By Wednesday afternoon Oliver was well enough that we could go pick up Simon from school (Micah had picked him up Monday and Tuesday), and it seemed that as we were walking around my contractions were getting a bit stronger. And especially the last little bit, when I had to carry sleeping Elsa off the train, up 3 flights of stairs, onto another train, and then across the street to our apartment. I really felt like maybe my efforts might tip the scales and we’d have a baby sooner than later.

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I thought that either I’d wake up at 2am with stronger contractions, or wake up in the morning disappointed that nothing had changed. Just before we went to bed, Oliver had woken with a nightmare, so we let him sit out on the couch for a few minutes to recover. When he went back to bed I told him I thought maybe when he woke up there might be a baby. But maybe not, so don’t get your hopes up.

I did wake up at 1:30 to use the restroom. And contractions were still happening. I was having a hard time falling back asleep and then there was a little pop and a small gush of water. I told Micah that either I was peeing my pants or my water had just broken. We looked at the clock: 2:02. HA!

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As always, I was nervous that things would progress more quickly than they ever have before, so we called my midwives at 2:30. They were at our place before 3:00 and for about two hours I labored in the shower, on the birth ball, lying on the bed—wherever felt good. Micah and one of my midwives rubbed my back through contractions.  Around 4:30 I started shaking uncontrollably and hoped I was in transition. But I didn’t feel the urge to push yet. Bummer.

I got back in the shower hoping the water would be soothing and finish the job. I knelt and let the water hit my back through a couple of contractions and then the pushing urge came. So I got out and went to the bed, where we decided I should probably be when he came. And I started pushing with the contractions.

My hope had been that it would be like when Elsa was born: just a couple of good pushes and there he’d be. But I could tell that even though I was pushing he was not moving down as quickly as I wanted him to. After several contractions I told my midwife I thought I was going to be at this for a while. And I was getting really tired. With the next contraction, she said there was just little bit of cervix in the way and she held it back while I pushed. That got his head in the birth canal, but there was still the hardest work to be done.

I was pretty exhausted and also felt like I’d used up all my screams already. (I was nervous about waking up the kids, but they assured me later that they didn’t hear a thing.) As much as I wished that he would take over and push himself out . . . that wasn’t going to happen. So with the next contraction I gave a might push and got his head out. The midwives said I could push the rest of him out whenever I was ready and I said I would never be ready, so they said, Well, then just when your body tells you to. And then I had another contraction and gave another mighty push and there he was. At 5:28am. Tiny and squirmy and wet and purple and crying. And suddenly I wasn’t tired anymore.

I picked him up and Micah and I wrapped him in a towel and I lay back on my pillows and was just so happy to see the little bugger at last.

After I got cleaned up a bit and delivered the placenta, Micah looked in on the kids. They are usually up between 6 and 6:30, and they were just waking up when he went in, so they came in to meet their little brother. He was, apparently, a little intimidating and they mostly observed from afar . . . at least until after they had a chance to wake up a bit and have some breakfast. Since then they’ve been fast friends and everyone wants to take a turn to hold Felix . . . for at least 2 1/2 seconds.

fastfriends

We hadn’t settled on his name before he was born, though we were pretty sure he would be Felix. Felix has been on our list since Simon, but it seemed like the right time/right baby to use it, after the year we’ve had trying to get him here. It was the middle name that was giving us issues. We wanted a name that honored someone we actually know, who has had an impact on us or our family. And it had to be a name we actually liked and sounded good—if not great—with Felix. At dinner we laid out the options to the kids, along with our thoughts on each of them. The boys ranked their favorites and gave their reasons and we talked some more and finally concluded Timothy was it, after my grad school professor/mentor who has encouraged my writing over the past 8 years and helped me get into the journalism program in the first place. And he’s also adopted our family one day each summer to come to his lake house, which has been a boon to our little family who doesn’t have any family close by.

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And that, my friends, is how Felix Timothy came into our lives.

It’s clear he’s in the right place because 1. He got the 2am memo. 2. He weighed 7lbs. 7oz. just like both his brothers. And 3. He was born 6 days before his due date, which put him exactly on the average day the other kids were born.

Oh, and he’s incredibly good looking for a new baby. So, obviously.

Heaven help any additional children we may have, what with all those expectations.

lucky little boy

lucky little boy

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We’re all smitten with little Felix.

born: March 10, 2016 5:28am

weight: 7 lbs. 7 oz. 

height: 20 1/2 inches

More hair than his newborn siblings, but otherwise living up to expectations. 

(birth story and more in another post)

baby love

baby love

I realized several weeks ago that this pregnancy is virtually undocumented. I haven’t been writing as much as I would like, I haven’t taken many/any photos. So I decided to at least document some of the things I’m doing to prepare. (That includes the rocking chair pads I blogged about earlier.)

One of the easy projects, but that has been meaningful to me because it has really helped me to visualize having this baby and holding him close, was to make a moby wrap. I’ve been wearing babies around NYC for 8 1/2 years and it seems a shame not to have a moby wrap, so I found some fabric I liked for sale and made one.

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Elsa was kind enough to model with her “baby” kitty Nuggy.

And with the scraps I made a hat and some pants for the little dude. (I made some more pants and another hat from leftovers of the boys’ foxy Christmas pants, but they are, as yet, unphotographed.)

babyduds

So there’s the proof that I am anticipating and preparing and excited about this little baby’s arrival. Hoping we get to meet him by the end of the week.

hobo sleepers

hobo sleepers

We got some big boxes a few weeks ago and Oliver and Elsa, wonderful children that they are, thought it would be fun to sleep in them. Micah and I nodded and smiled and said, “Okay whatever,” and closed the door, knowing they would get cramped and end up in their beds.

But then before we went to bed we checked on them and found this:

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Little hobos. We moved them back to their beds after we captured the moment for our own enjoyment/posterity.

And since we’re on my favorite photographic subject (sleeping children, in case you forgot), here’s another of Miss Elsa. I had to take a photo because over the past few months she has almost made it a habit of falling asleep on the train when we’re on the way to pick the boys up from school. Which means I have to carry her little sleeping body (on top of my big pregnant belly) for the 15 minute walk to school, and sometimes back to the train station as well. Her saving grace is that she’s a beautiful sleeper and I couldn’t bear to abandon her on the side of the road, even to save my aching back.

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(Side notes: 1. I have noticed that it has gotten much easier to carry her that distance over the course of this winter. 2. It seems as though my normal activity level has made it nearly impossible to induce labor through exertion. I’ve biked to and from Costco—which means I’m going uphill with a couple hundred dollars worth of bulk purchases, walked and run several miles, carried that sleeping girl for 30 minutes, lugged our enormous laundry bag home from the laundromat, and . . . nothing. My body seems to not notice and take it in stride. Or maybe this baby just isn’t ready to come out yet. Bummer.)

wildest dreams

wildest dreams

You know how you’ve always wanted your family to spend Sunday evenings sitting around the piano (or ukulele, or guitar) singing and playing and making beautiful music? Well, it’s haaaappppeennnning!

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roving and rocking

roving and rocking

I got a crazy idea a little while ago that I needed to come up with a better rocking chair cushion/pad before the baby was born. The internet was not as useful to me as I had hoped until one day I saw these chunky wool seat pads on Design Mom and I knew that is exactly what I wanted.

It seemed like it couldn’t be too difficult, but I had not the first clue of where to even get the materials. Thankfully, I know a girl who knows all about textiles and knitting and wool and felting. She pointed me in the right direction on where to get roving (unspun wool) at a decent price, helped me figure out what my order of operations should be (knitting, then felting, then dyeing), and offered plenty of support and encouragement when I was doubting how things were turning out. chair1

I knew going into the project that it would be a miracle if everything turned out well. I had no idea how to do any of the steps necessary to pull it off. But the first step, knitting, went pretty smoothly. YouTube was my teacher and I learned to knit using my arms as needles. The only problem I had was that I really had no idea how big I should make the pads (I was doing one for the seat and one for the back), but I figured too big was better than too small. I thought the knitting turned out pretty great (although I’m not o great at casting off), but was terrified of the felting part. That is where I would shrink and strengthen the roving.

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There are a couple of ways to do it, and my mentor suggested I start by hand felting—which entailed lots of warm, soapy water. I did the smaller pad first and . . . it didn’t look so good. It was smaller, but still too big. And some parts looked just matted together. After some additional consulting and deliberation, I tossed it in the washing machine. It got a bit smaller, and looked a bit better, but still really lumpy and uneven. Oh well. There was still the other pad. A run in the washing machine and dryer and it came out looking just fine. In fact, although I hadn’t planned to do it, I realized that if the other pad never got looking any better, I could use that one for the whole chair and it would be fine.

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So then I got to dyeing. I wanted to dye the pads blue-gray, and I had hoped to do it using natural dyes. It turns out that black beans are often used to dye wool and other fabric the blue-gray of my dreams. It also turns out that there is/can be a lot of variation in how this is achieved and what process you use. I decided to go that simplest route—no mordant, just a bath in warm black bean water (with all the beans taken out)—and see what that did. It did not. After nearly two days (or three days?) in the bath, not only was the pad not blue, it wasn’t really holding the dye. (Wool is supposed to hold dyes more easily than plant-based fabrics like cotton.) So I rinsed it out, let it dry, and was grateful I’d only done one pad. I may eventually try to re-dye it, but for now it is kind of a dingy, pinkish tan color.

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So the back pad is going to stay as it is—just its natural color. It isn’t perfect, but I kind of like the way it drapes on the rocking chair. And it is quite comfortable to sit on. It was not a miracle, but it was an experience and I am glad I did it. I’m hoping that it’ll be a part of our home and our story for years to come.chair5