Monthly Archives: May 2014

‘Till There Was Chicken…..

On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, Kate the Chicken joined us in the world.

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My due date was May 19, and that day came and went with zero signs that I would ever go into labor. Like, ever. We decided to have an elective induction on May 21 – an auspicious birthday shared by Mr. T.

YES.

The first thing I noticed when we got into our L&D room was that there was a towel in the shape of a swan on the bed. Apparently the head of housekeeping used to work for Carnival Cruise Lines, and she’s been spreading the gospel of animal-towel-folding to the staff. It was unexpected and kind of delightful, and helped put us in a good frame of mind for the day ahead.

The induction proceeded like a heavy truck rolling downhill – almost imperceptible at first, but flying by the end of the day. In fact, the momentum built so much that my OB almost missed the delivery! The nurse came to check on me at 8:30, and as she was getting her gloves on, she said, “So, we’ll try some gentle pushes, just to see where you are, and we’ll call the doctor to keep him informed.” Then she checked me. Her face froze. “Don’t. Push. Baby is RIGHT. THERE.” She placed an urgent call to my OB…. who was out jogging. He arrived sweaty, with his running clothes on under his scrubs, but cheerful and calm as always. Two contractions later, she was out.

Hazel had a bit of jaundice, so she had to spend Friday night under the disco  lights to help get her bilirubin count down. Thankfully, they worked, and we were discharged on Saturday. Shortly before we left the hospital, we realized we had not decided by what name we would call her. Jason was calling her “Kate,” and I was calling her “Hazel.”

So let’s talk about her name.

Hazel was my great-grandmother (my mother’s father’s mother). Her daughter and her granddaughter were also named Hazel – much in the same way that me, my mother, and my grandmother are all Winifred. Original Flavor Hazel was blind, but my mom reports that she still went to my great-grandfather’s fiber plant and sat at a great big desk every day that she could. She also had an elevator installed in her house in Jacksonville. We have inherited a few pieces of furniture from her house, which are among my favorite pieces. Katherine is not a family name, per se, but my paternal grandmother was Mary Kate and Jason’s mom is Kathleen, so Katherine-with-a-K felt like a name that would honor both sides of our family.

As I said, my legal name is Winifred, but I’ve gone by Windy my entire life. It’s one thing to be called by one’s middle name (like Hollyn), but a slightly more difficult thing to be called by a name which is neither your first nor your middle name. And as much as we love “Kate the Chicken,” it’s not like she’s going to write that on her school papers. So we’re going to call her Hazel.

Since we got home, things have been relatively smooth sailing. She eats well, sleeps well, and generally goes with the flow. We switched over to cloth diapers after she finished getting rid of her meconium, and that’s been going swimmingly. I even bought a clothesline so I could dry those suckers outside. Who am I?

Our friends have overwhelmed us with love and food, bringing meals almost every day since we got home from the hospital. Jason’s parents came up to take care of Hollyn and Jensen last Wednesday, and my mom arrived Thursday and stayed through the following Wednesday to help. We have been humbled by the support we’ve received, and are immensely grateful for it.

Despite being a newborn, Hazel has shown a few distinct preferences. She H-A-T-E-S being swaddled, but loves being in the Baby Bjorn. She likes to poop at inopportune moments, such as fifteen seconds before the pediatrician enters the exam room (stay classy, Hazel!). She tolerates Boots’ kisses, but punches Lucius in the face when he sticks his nose in her ear. Ron does not understand her purpose, and therefore remains wary.

Jason has been an excellent partner throughout this process. He is happy to do whatever needs to be done so that we can all function. Because I’m breastfeeding, he generally takes on more of the diapers-and-burping duties, which I appreciate.

It took me nine days to write this update. One day I will learn to operate a laptop one-handed, but today is not that day.

Until then!

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Did I mention I find it hard to relax?

Because I needed one more thing to do, I decided to make duvet covers for the girls’ room.

Their comforters are in great shape, but they’re hot pink on one side and faded lime green on the other, and the girls wanted something that fit better with their room color (pale sea glass green), rug color (gray and off-white), and preferences (teal, purple).

I hit up JoAnn fabrics over Mother’s Day weekend and got to work. I selected a Waverly home decor fabric to be featured in both duvet covers. Jensen requested a gray and white chevron as the accent on her duvet cover, and I selected a pale aqua with white dots for Hollyn’s:

I measured the existing comforter and added seam allowances (one inch where the main fabric met the contrast fabric, one inch for the side edges, one inch for the top edge, and two inches for the bottom edge), then cut my main fabric to size.

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Then I laid the contrast fabric on top and cut it as well. Or rather, I would have, but I had some unintentional help.

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Thanks, Ron. Now move.

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After I got the pieces cut to size and pinned, the sewing (and seam pressing) part was easy. I made sure that the front totally covered the existing comforter, then repeated the procedure for the back.

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Boots! Move!

Finally, I sewed the sides and top, and hemmed the opening at the bottom. I finished by hand-sewing four snaps across the bottom to keep everything in place.

And that’s it. Here’s the duvet in its natural habitat, after it was released back into the wild.

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This project was large and therefore kind of difficult to wrangle, but the sewing part was easy – five straight seams and a hem. The covers are washable – hallelujah. And if they get bored of them in a few years, I’ll teach them to sew and they can make their own. Heh.

 

 

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And Then We Came to the End

First things first: Have you had that baby yet?

Friday was my last day of work. We decided that three children at three different schools plus a newborn (plus three pets, plus a house) equals a full-time job. I seriously doubt I will do nothing – relaxing is not my strong suit – but I don’t think I will ever return to a clock-punching desk-jockey position.

I held my job for almost seven years – longer than any other job I’ve ever had, and longer than either of my marriages (so far). My first five years out of college, I had six jobs. Since 2007, I’ve had one.

I feel like I have lost a bit of my identity. Someone asked me over the weekend what I did, and I said, “I’m a paralegal” before I realized that might be a lie. Talking about work, commiserating about work, griping about work – these are sacred American traditions. You can’t really complain about your children the same way.

I tried very hard to keep my work life and my personal life separate. As much as I fiddle around decorating my house, I put almost zero effort into personalizing my office. When I left on Friday, all my personal belongings fit into a small box, and most of the space in the box was taken up by a fleece jacket.

Today is my first day as a domestic engineer. It is also my due date.

Last weekend, we took my camera and tripod out into the back yard to get a few pictures before Kate the Chicken’s arrival, as I realized that I didn’t have a single picture of me, Jason, and my bump together.

Problem: solved.

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I also got a few with my firstborn.

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We had a hard time taking the whole thing seriously for very long.

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I’ll be spending this week waiting for Kate the Chicken, making lists (MY FAVORITE) and trying not to wear myself out. Wish me luck!

 

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Dear Jason’s Ex: About Last Night….

Approximate timeline of events, May 8, 2014:

8:00 – Jason’s ex calls him. Jason is awaiting a jury verdict in his trial. He tells Allison that the girls will call her back when he gets home.

8:50 – Allison calls my phone. Because she has a long history of being unable to use the telephone in a reasonable or adult manner, I do not answer.

A few minutes later – Hollyn notices what time it is, and asks, “Should we go ahead and call our mom on your phone?” I answered, “I don’t think your dad will be too much longer, and he’s already told her you’ll call her when he gets home.” She replied, “OK” and went to her bedroom, where she began texting her mother on her iPod. The text conversation went on for some time. At no point did I interfere in any way with this conversation.

9:45 – Jason arrives home. The girls immediately call Allison and speak for less than five minutes apiece.

This is the e-mail Jason got from her:

“From your text, you are in a trial and not yet home. I asked you to have our girls call me and I tried calling windy’s phone. She did not answer. Hollyn said that she asked windy if she could call me and windy refused to let them call their mother. You also said in your text that windy will not allow it.  This is not acceptable. If hers is the only phone available, our girls need to be able to use it.

It seems as if windy is deliberately keeping our girls from me.  Also, our girls are probably hurt and do not understand why they cannot call their mother when they ask to. I do not stop them from contacting you whenever they want. And I make sure you know how to get in touch with our girls if I will not be with them at the time of your call.”

As usual, she copied her attorney on this e-mail.

I (and my phone) do not exist to accommodate Allison’s phone calling schedule. The girls do not “need” to be able to use it, and I do not “need” to let them. She called at an inconvenient time, and Jason provided her an alternative time later the same evening. This wasn’t good enough. She demands instant, on-demand access. Anything less is “not acceptable.” The settlement agreement between Jason and Allison provides that they get a phone call every night. Fine. Guess who is not a party to that agreement? Me. If she wants me to do her the favor of letting the children use my phone, maybe she should consider not being a heinous bitch all the time. Just a thought.

They were not “hurt.” Hollyn did not ask if she COULD call her mother, she asked if she SHOULD call her mother – because she is well aware of her mother’s immature phone habits. I told her the same thing Jason told Allison – that they could talk when Jason got home – and that was the end of the conversation. She then proceeded to chat with her mother by text for the next half hour. This is categorized by Allison as “deliberately keeping our girls away from me.”

As an aside, I don’t know if she refuses to capitalize my name because she’s lazy, or because she feels it makes me somehow less of a person, but either way it does not make me inclined to work with her on this or any other issue.

This is the kind of nonsense we have to deal with constantly from her. She has never learned the phrase, “pick your battles.” Everything is a battle. Let me be clear – she contacted her attorney because she was told she would have to wait to speak to her children on the phone (as opposed to by text) yesterday, as Jason was still at work. That’s the whole issue.

Monday night, I called Tyler. He never called me back. It was irritating, but it certainly did not warrant this kind of overblown hysteria. I didn’t e-mail anyone. I didn’t notify an attorney. I didn’t repeatedly contact my ex, or call his roommate. I didn’t even text him. Sometimes you miss a phone call. It’s not the end of the world.

Want to take a guess how she’ll handle it if I happen to be in labor during Allison’s Special, Special Phone Time? I shudder to think.

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Just One More Thing

Jason took the lead on a nursery project of his own last weekend while I “supervised” from the glider.

Kate the Chicken’s room is the smallest in the house, measuring at about 10 feet x 12 feet. We are always looking for space-saving organization ideas. There is a small strip of wall behind the door that was just begging to be used, and I decided it would  make an excellent landing zone for her diaper bag, Baby Bjorn, and other hangable items.

I bought three of these hooks at World Market:Hook

The bubble/crackle glass bits are similar to the finials on her curtain rods, but the mixed metals keep them from being matchy.

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We bought a piece of baseboard molding and cut it to size, then painted it to match the trim. Jason then installed the molding and screwed the hooks into it.

Voila.

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There is just enough clearance to accommodate the bag when it’s packed. And the door can open without hitting the hooks.

The total cost for this project was about $20, and it took about an hour of active time (paint drying not included).

Many thanks to my partner in craft, Jason, for making this look so easy.

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Waste Not, Want Not

Yes, I am still pregnant. No, I am not terribly pleased about that.

While we’re waiting, I decided to knock out some small sewing projects.

One of my favorite things about Kate the Chicken’s nursery are the curtains. I took a plain pair of white curtains and added a leading edge that matched the rug in her room. But, because I am overly anxious about everything, I bought way too much fabric. This is the story of my sewing life, and why I have a ton of “stashbusters” pins on my Pinterest board. Sigh.

Anyway, I was determined to use up more of the fabric, since it ended up matching the rug so nicely.

First up: Pillows.

I bought two pillow forms several months ago (I think they were on sale?), and they had a ticking clock on them thanks to my recent commitment to stop hoarding craft supplies.

I made simple envelope-style pillow covers using this tutorial. My pillow forms were 16 inches square.

Done. Next?

Burp cloths. Over the years, we have amassed an alarming number of towels. I decided to use this tutorial, along with a lonely white towel, to make a set of four burp cloths for Kate the Chicken. I cut mine 10″ x 18″.

These were ridiculously easy, but turned out so well!

Why have I not made them before? Spoiler alert for my pregnant friends: You’re getting these. I mean, not THESE these. They’re for Kate the Chicken.

Now I only have about half a yard of this fabric to use up.

Back to Pinterest!

 

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