Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baby's Room

I thought I would show off our little baby's room. It is a Montessori inspired room. I took the inspiration from Montessori from the Start, this room and Michael Olaf's recommendations for a superior environment. It's not a very big room but it's bright and happy. It was originally our guest room and was always painted that soft yellow color.
 The first thing you see in the room is the baby's floor bed. We plan to co-sleep at night but this area is to be used for napping and is down on the floor so that when the baby can crawl he/she can lie down for a rest whenever he/she feels the need. We placed the mirror here so the baby can see the rest of the room in the reflection and can spend time on the lovely organic cotton mattress while checking out things in the mirror. Right now I have an organic cotton sheet on the mattress but I'm hoping to make this quilt (probably in brown, green and blue instead of the rainbow colors) to go on the bed. In the mean time I have just a simple cotton crib blanket on there. I'm also hoping to make a better cover for the round pillow. I really don't like the color it is now. I'm also hoping to find a small rug to place beside the bed in case the baby rolls out. I might make one of these (though I love the size and color of this one) but for now I will just use a folded quilt.
The painting above the bed was one that hung in my room when I was a child and also hung in my brothers room once I outgrew the theme. It was painted by Chris Buffett who was a good friend of my aunts.

 Beside the bed is a little galvanized pail that I got at the hardware store. Once the baby is old enough to dress his or herself I will hang a small hook on the wall where I will hang two or three outfits he/she can choose from and leave the bucket under the hook for dirty clothes. For now I'll use it for storage. I did my best to find a child size shelf and ended up going with this solid shoe rack. I have two wicker baskets on the shelf each with two toys in them. The white basket on the floor underneath is our temporary nature tray. I'm still looking for a good wood tray to use for our nature display. Right now I have a wool pumpkin and a large shell in it. I plan to rotate the toys as per the Montessori philosophy. Plus I like that it minimizes the clutter.
On the shelf (which isn't at baby's height so it can't be used to pull up on) is the snail I made, a copper picture of a sparrow my Grandma made for her children and a monster buddy. The monster buddy was a gift from Jon. I love it so much. It is handmade, local and totally unique. His name is Broo and he onced lived in Pandora's box but was treated so badly there that he flew away. Now he has found us and we need to treat him well so he doesn't fly away.

 On the left you can see our changing area. And on the wall are our bird Eeboo counting cards. Right now I have out one through five but the cards go to ten so I'll switch them out periodically. Jon also bought the ABC cards so those will also get switched out. On the floor is a little potty station. I have yet to finish the waterproof mat for under the potty and put out the basket of fun things for when pottying takes a while. Having a potty station isn't a requirement of either EC or Montessori but we only have one bathroom in our home and if someone is showering or using the bathroom a potty station would be handy. This will be moved over by the door once I clear the space. On the right you can see my nursing chair.

 Here is a closer look at the changing area. We are planning on practicing EC but this is an area that is about more than diapers. The baskets on the shelves contain clothing, hats, shoes and socks, receiving blankets, wipes and diapers. I would like to hang a small mirror above the table so the baby can see itself while being pottied. We got this change table used for just $5! Most of the baskets were second-hand from family members. I will only keep out the clothes that are the right size for right now. The rest are stored in containers in the closet. This limits the mess and makes just grabbing something to wear a lot easier. Once we are done with the change table this corner of the room will become the art corner with a little work table and a storage cabinet.

 Out on the table I have baby's first outfit, all ready and waiting for him/her. Yes it is blue but I really don't care about gender stereotypes. I love this little cotton kimono (which I bought second-hand). The hat might be a bit big but it is the smallest one I have. I also have put out some natural compostable diapers for the first night. The knit blanket on the left is from my grandmother who made it for me when I was a baby.
 Here is the nursing/reading area. The glider is second-hand from family. I've covered it with a new shade of blue and made a pillow cover out of some fabric painted by my aunt. I'm also going to use the star fabric to make a cover for the footstool, I just haven't had the time to finish that. On the top of the shelf is a star paper lamp and space for a big glass of water while I nurse. I got the lamp at a little store on Saltspring Island called Stuff and Nonsense and I love how the colors work with the room. It doesn't give off a ton of light but it is enough for midnight feedings. On the shelf is a small basket with nursing pads, nipple cream and little burp clothes. I will also put a small snack (like a granola bar or apple) in there so I can munch while I nurse. On the next shelf are our selection of baby books. I found a couple of them in free bins and got some second-hand. The rest are from a sale at the local children's book store. We've got Mama Do You Love Me?, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon and so many more. I can't wait to sit and read with my baby. On the last shelf is an infant potty. This one will go where I go.
The little blue bouncy chair is second-hand from a friend. I don't plan on using it much, I'd rather wear my baby but sometimes I'll need to get changed or use the bathroom and then the chair will be handy. Once that chair is outgrown it will be replaced by a child-size rocking chair for reading in. My parents kept one from my childhood that is in storage until I need it. By the door is our Tummy Tub. This will be stored in the closet once I have room and then the potty station will go here.
Finally on the wall above the little chair are some beautiful paintings Jon got me for Christmas. They are of colorful wild horses and a pair of bright hippos. They are done by a local Saltspring Island artist (can't remember the name right now but I'll find it).
 The Montessori books I've read recommend hanging something above or behind where you plan to nurse for visual stimulation for the baby. This idea is straight from Meg. I loved it so much I had to put one of these in my home. I followed this tutorial and made sure I hung it where the baby can see it while nursing.

The only things left to do are move the tub and the potty station, finish making some mobiles and hang them, finish the foot stool cover, make the quilt and put out the sheep skin rug that was in my baby room in my baby's room. Not everything needs to be done right now but I have some projects to keep me busy until this baby comes.
I'm so happy with this space, I really hope it is a happy place for my baby.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Belly Cast

Today some very good friends of mine came over to help me do a belly cast. It ended up being a really nice day. We had lunch, chatted about babies and made a cast of my large belly. It was an interesting feeling to be lathered with Vaseline and then covered in plaster but in the end it was kind of fun. Jon and I were supposed to do a maternity photo shoot with the photographer from our wedding but unfortunately some personal problems arose and we couldn't get them done so I'm really grateful to have the belly cast. I think once I get it painted I'll hang it on the wall in our bedroom.
We meant to take pictures of the process but to be honest we all had stuff on our hands so I'm not sure who was supposed be holding a camera. I was feeling a little self-conscious about my large body and wasn't sure that I wanted the largeness immortalized in plaster but I like the way it turned out. I'm looking forward to putting a design on it. Thank you Kyrie and Lindsay! It was a really fun day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pondering the Garden

My garden last summer was an epic failure. I blame a lot of that on me just not having the time (or the will) to work in the garden. I was going through a lot of morning sickness and just didn't make it outside. However, the real reason for much of the failure in the garden is the weeds. The weed problem has just gotten beyond our control. It's a shame because the area where the garden is located gets great sun and would normally do well. The options were to spray Round-Up every year to keep the weeds under control or to once again cover the garden and build raised beds. We opted for the raised beds (Round-Up is just too nasty for me to want to handle). Well, the raised beds didn't really come to fruition. So the goal now is to finish covering the garden in plastic, cover the plastic with hog fuel and build the raised beds when we have the time.
Since there is no garden plot and no raised beds, this years garden will be a container garden. I will be growing tomatoes (Roma and Cherry), cucumbers, spinach (spring and fall), lettuce (spring and fall varieties), collards, kale, swiss chard, carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, beans and chilis. I went through the catalog and picked each variety specifically because it was noted that they could do well in containers. Most things will be grown in pots (tomatoes, cucumbers, chilis and beans) and window boxes (spinach, lettuce, collards, kale, and swiss chard). For the beets, onions and carrots, I've decided to use old Tupperware storage containers that have lost their lids. I'm hoping they are deep enough for a good root crop. Finally the potatoes will be grown in an old garbage can. I'm sad though that I will not have the space for squash. I'm considering trying to grow some zucchini and pumpkin in the compost pile. I had a volunteer squash in my compost last year but it ended up going moldy before it produced anything. I saved some seeds from last year's produce so I might just toss them in there and see how they do.
I'm hoping that if I don't have a big garden this year I can focus a bit more on nurturing my perennial fruit plants. My blueberries, raspberries and strawberries have not been immune to the weed problems. Because they are better established they haven't been too bothered but this year I'm hoping to keep them well weeded and fertilized. My fingers are crossed for a better crop of pears, apples, peaches and cherries. I'm going to have to buy more bees this year because it looks like all mine from last year have hatched and perished.
I don't know, does it all sound a little ambitious for a lady who will have new baby in a matter of weeks? Things like the onions, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, chilis, lettuce, kale, and potatoes need to be planted as soon as March. I guess if I don't get as much planted as I want to, I can always find a good farmers market in town.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Eviction Notice

Alright Baby, this is your eviction notice. You have one week to vacate the womb before things get really unpleasant.
I'm not sure how much longer I can stand to be pregnant. Yes, I know I'm still a week away from my EDD but this is just torture. The baby is really low in my pelvis and every-so-often it will pinch a nerve and I can't move my hip. I have to pee almost constantly (which isn't helped by the fact that I am perpetually thirsty). I can't really dress myself, socks and shoes are almost impossible so I'm wearing clogs in the rain. I can't find a comfortable position to sleep in so sleep is often limited to a cluster of 2 hour naps throughout the day. I can feel pressure on my cervix and I've been having a lot of lower back and hip pain. Also, occasionally I'll get menstrual-like cramps and nausea. It seems like this should be it but nothing is happening.
In an attempt to motivate the baby out I've started taking long walks every night, using evening primrose oil and eating spicy food. Fingers crossed that something will work and this baby will make it's appearance asap!
In light of this babe taking it's time, you still have time to place your bets!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where We Stand

Everyone has their own views on how to raise children. It seems logical that many of us raise our own children the way we were raised. Not that my parents did anything wrong in raising me, in fact I think I turned out pretty good. The journey to adulthood however was a rocky one and I'm hoping by recognizing what I felt I needed in my childhood (and ultimately didn't really get) that I can give my own child a better journey towards the grown up they choose to be. Here are my thoughts on how we plan on raising our child (these are just thoughts, I want to be totally flexible so that I can adjust to my child's needs as well as my own).

Birth: Seems like the logical place to start. We are planning a peaceful homebirth. I have a great husband, doula and midwife so my confidence in our choice to birth at home is really high. I feel like I can be relaxed here and that things are more likely to go the way nature intended it if we are away from the medical world. Plus I can't tell you how wonderful it sounds to give birth in your home, have a shower in your own bathroom and crawl into your own bed with your new little baby and sleep uninterrupted by nurses and hospital going-ons.

Breastfeeding: The benefits of breastfeeding are impossible to ignore. Formula is not an option for us. We have a postpartum doula who will help me get the hang of breastfeeding if needed. I am also hoping to breastfeed for an extended period of time. It would be great if we could breastfeed until age 4 or 5 but we will just have to go with the flow on that one.

Sleeping: I was "taught" to sleep using the Faber method of crying it out. I don't think this method taught me to self soothe but rather taught me anxiety. We plan to co-sleep to the best of our abilities. We have a very small bedroom so we don't really have room for a family bed. We have a side-car co-sleeper for the early days but once the baby is older we are going to have find a different solution to the bed issue. The other problem that could affect our ability to co-sleep is that I am a light sleeper and Jon snores. If our baby is a light sleeper Jon may have to sleep elsewhere or if the baby makes noises all night I may not be able to handle so little sleep between the two of them. Again, we will just have to see how it goes.

Diapering/Pottying: I think I've mentioned before that we are going to try to practice Elimination Communication with our child. Jon and I both find it really strange to teach your child to eliminate into a diaper only to tell them a few years later that they should actually eliminate into the toilet. Baby's have the ability to recognize when they need to potty and if you recognize those cues of when they need to go and take them to the potty they will learn from the beginning to communicate with you about their elimination needs. Being that this is our first child I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself to catch every pee or poop but I do hope that we can communicate regularly enough that eventually we don't really have to work at it, it will just be as natural as nursing. I do recognize that we will need to use diapers and when it comes to diapers I'm going to try to be strictly cloth diapering. We do have some disposables but I'm hoping to only use those when we are traveling and can't wash diapers or if we run out of clean diapers (which really should never happen but hey, it's good to be prepared).

Parenting: I believe in attachment parenting. I believe that children are to be respected as individuals from infancy. I'm not here to lord over my children, I'm here to love them and guide them. Creating a strong bond between mother and child is not about coddling them but about establishing love and trust. I want my child to be free to express themselves from an early age and be allowed to make their own decisions. However, I don't want to be disrespected in the process (for example, I don't want my needs for quiet or rest to be ignore because my child wants to run around yelling whenever he/she feels like it). We've been looking into the Montessori philosophy and reading books like Montessori from the Start and How to Raise an Amazing Child The Montessori Way. While I don't plan on using everything outlined in those books, I do really appreciate the emphasis on responsibility and respect. I feel that manners are an important social attribute and I like the way Montessori goes about teaching manners. We also plan on using the philosophy of consensual living in our home. Consensual living means that the needs of everyone are not only acknowledged but are included in the decision making process and solutions are mutually agreed upon. And finally I hope that in my communications with my family that I can continue to practice non-violent communication. I will admit that it can be real challenge, especially when I'm tired or stressed, but I do notice people respond well to it and I think it will be an effective method of communication with my child.

Schooling: Our plan regarding school is up in the air. I know that I do not want to send my child through the public school system however I'm not overly comfortable with homeschooling. I've been thinking of either a Montessori school (though many in the area don't go past grade 3) or a bio-regional school. I'm thinking that I will just put our child on the waiting lists and decide later. I've got more research to do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spring Things for the Little One

I bought the book Handmade Beginnings and love all the little projects in it. I decided to start with the Baby in the Hood jacket and the reversible pants. I made both in the 3-6 month size so they should fit the babe when the weather starts warming up.
 I chose colors similar to what were used in the book because I thought they were so springy. My mom thought they might be girly for a boy but I really love this jacket. The inside is lined with flannel so the babe should be able to wear it even if it hasn't really warmed up outside.
 This is side one of the pants. I really like the lime green for spring and summer. The pants were pretty easy to make with the exception of an uncooperative sewing machine and sewing the elastic in before checking if it was twisted. In the end I fixed the elastic and got a better machine to work with.
Here is the other side of those pants. In the book she recommends trying a fun pattern for the yolk but the fabrics I had were already kind of busy so I decided not to add a 3rd fabric to the mix. I think I'll make some more of these pants once I know if it's a boy or girl and make them in bigger sizes. I'll try using fun fabrics for the yolk next time.
PS Don't forget to leave me your guesses for the baby pool!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Postpartum Prep

So in addition to the meals I've been preparing for after the baby is born I've also been preparing a few things to make my recovery more comfortable.
I used some flannel I found at a thrift store to make myself a couple of mama clothes from a pattern in Handmade Home. These ones have been soaked in a tea (comfrey, calendula, plantain, echincea, vitamin E, St. Johns wart) and frozen for some cold soothing relief on my perineum. I also reserved some of that tea for a peri-wash that has been frozen in squirt bottles. Even before I got pregnant I never used disposable pads. Normally I use pads with a PUL lining that I buy here but for the ones that I wanted to freeze I didn't want the PUL lining. However, for overnight I did buy some of the extra long pads with a PUL liner.
I'm also trying to make sure I have plenty of supplies for breastfeeding. I have a couple different types of nursing pads (though I think the soft bamboo ones will be the winner), a nursing bra and nursing tank, some organic nipple cream, lactation teas and some small microwavable bean bags in case I need some relief with plugged ducts.
We are also planning on encapsulating my placenta in the hopes that it will help with my low iron and keep postpartum blues at bay. I have the supplies I need and a doula who is willing to help with the time consuming process of putting the ground placenta in capsules. You can find more information of the benefits of placenta encapsulation here.
So all-in-all I feel like I've got a handle on things in terms of recovery but who knows. Do any of you mamas out there have some suggestions of things that you found made for a speedy recovery?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Post-baby Meal Plan

I haven't been very good about planning our meals this pregnancy. My appetite has been so unpredictable that I feel like any plans might be pointless. Post-baby meal plans however feel necessary. I don't want to be trying to figure out nursing, sleep patterns, EC and everything else while trying to make sure we have food. I've started making and freezing meals that are easy to reheat and offer the nutrition I need while breastfeeding.

-Blueberry muffins
-Lemon Poppyseed muffins
-Cinnamon buns

-Bean and Cheese burritos
-Yam and Black Bean burritos
- Chicken Corn soup
- Turkey salad (for sandwiches)

-Beef and Veggie Chili
-Chicken Curry
-Spaghetti sauce
-Shepherds pie

-Chocolate cupcakes
-Cheesy breadsticks
-Refried beans (with cheese)

I have most of these already made and frozen but there are a couple more to be made this weekend. Most of the dinners are big enough that we should be able to make them last 2 days. The burritos have been individually wrapped so it will be easy to take one out and just pop it in the microwave when I'm hungry. I've also frozen some bread for sandwiches and toast as well as some fruit for smoothies. I'm really hoping that I don't have to do much in the way of cooking for the first week or two. I've also tried to make clean up really easy. The tupperware that I used to freeze most of the items are dishwasher safe so all I have to do it load the dishwasher. Fingers crossed that this turns out to be as helpful as I think it will be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Little Snail

I'm in the process of making a few little soft toys for the babe. This is my first completed one. I generally don't enjoy doing 3D sewing projects but this one was kind of fun. It was a hand sewing pattern from Wee Wonderfuls. I have the butterfly Wee Wonderfuls pattern to try next.
I really liked the snail. It reminds me of a book I was given when I was a kid called Elmer the Grump. In the book the main character, Elmer, has a pet snail named Rosie. This snail had a Rosie-type appeal so I decided it should be the first Mama-made toy for my child.
On to the next project....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Place Your Bets

Alrighty, it's time for a baby pool. We will be at 37 weeks on Wednesday so anytime after that apparently is fair game. I know what I'm thinking in terms of baby's arrival but I'm interested in what other people are thinking. Leave me a comment with your guesses and winner gets bragging rights! Here's what you need to know:
I was born 10 days early and weighed 8lbs 2oz.
Jon was born 7 days early and weighed 8lbs 5oz.
I am the oldest with one younger brother (born 7 days early). Jon is the youngest with one older brother (born 7 days early).
Our EDD is February 3rd.
So in your comments let me know if you think it's a boy or a girl, when you think it will be born and how big you think the babe will be. Good luck! I look forward to reading your guesses.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

36 weeks

It is very weird to think that this is the end and that within a month I will be holding my baby. I'm starting to get a little impatient.
I'm definitely starting to get really uncomfortable. The baby is now big enough that when he/she kicks, it really really hurts. Because it's getting so squishy in there most of the kicks seem to be directed up into my rib cage and will often take my breath away. My ND says it is a sign of a very healthy babe but it's leaving me a little sore (and slightly bruised).
I've started to get the pregnant lady waddle. My hips are widening for the birth so now I walk kind of funny and at the end of the day my hips are quite sore. I've found warm baths to be so relaxing and really help with both the hip pain and the braxton hicks contractions but I'm almost too pregnant to get out of the tub on my own. It really make me want to cry. The good news is that I think water will be a really helpful tool for coping with the pain of childbirth and we recently bought ourselves a La Bassine pool for that very purpose. I hope I get to use it (I bought it second-hand. The woman who owned it before me didn't even get to blow it up because her labor was that quick).
Yesterday we went on our hospital tour as part of our childbirth preparation class. While I thought it was important that we go on the tour because there is always the chance that we would need to transfer there, all I feel it did was solidify our plans to birth at home. The rooms were small (add a birth ball, doula, husband, and midwife and there would be no room to move about), no tubs, the showers were so tiny that if Jon wanted to stand in there and rub my back he really couldn't, and I felt so uncomfortable just standing there, I'm not sure I could relax if I had to labor in one of those rooms. Prior to the tour I was really wondering if I could do this at home with no chance of drugs so I could sleep during a long labor but now I'm just so motivated to do what it takes to birth my baby in a clean, warm, safe environment (the maternity ward at our local hospital recently had an outbreak of Strep A and is still under restrictions to prevent another outbreak).
I am officially on maternity leave now so I am beginning the endless task of getting ready for baby. I've started making meals to freeze so we don't have to do take out. I'm also making sure that everything gets washed (all the diapers, sheets, towels, etc) so I'm not trying to do laundry in early labor. The baby's room still needs some work but it's getting there. I have a few sewing projects on the go that I would like to finish. I'm hoping to make myself a couple nursing tops, a few soft toys for the babe, and mama cloths for postpartum bleeding. I'm also compiling squares for a birth quilt. Stay tuned for updates on that.
Can't wait to meet you little baby, we are almost ready for you!