Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Milestones

We achieved two things today - first, Piper started using a pacifier!


This has been a struggle - we went through 5 brands before we found two that she wouldn't choke on (the Nuk 0+ size and the Tommy Tippee Newborn small size). Here's to hoping she learns to self-soothe soon!

Secondly, Piper had her first bottle today, courtesy of Willow!


I had a dentist appointment thgis afternoon and my mother-in-law babysat Piper. Piper's nursing schedule is still erratic (i.e., on demand), so I pumped enough for a small bottle this morning. However, Piper slept the entire time at Grandma's (despite getting a tongue bath from the dog!), so she never used the bottle. Willow begged to be the one to give Piper the bottle - and she did a great job of it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

WiP It Wednesday: The Belated Version and Contest Update

I had every intention of actually getting this post written on Wednesday, but Piper became Her Highness Ultimate Crankpants of Doom last night and I ended up crashing in bed as soon as I got her to stop screaming at me and fall asleep.

I have a finished sock!


I started these socks the day before Piper was born so I would have something to work on in the hospital while I was in labor. Yes - I knit quite peacefully until the contractions were about 3 minutes apart - and seeing as it took a few hours on the pitocin drip before the contractions had me in a good place to start pushing, I'm really glad I did!

A close up of the pretty blues and purples:


I have to say I am loving this yarn - I'm not normally a purple person - that distinction belongs to my Mom. However, I really liked the interplay of the blues and purples. At first I picked the yarn because of its shade, but once I started knitting with it I fell in love all over again because it was so soft and easy to work with. The yarn is Crock-O-Dye (colourway 798) and is 65% superwash wool, 20% nylon, and 15% silk. I will definitely buy this sock yarn again.


The problem with taking pictures in the winter is that my sunroom, which has the best natural light for pictures, is off-limits because it is just as cold as outside - and I am limited by the light that comes through the narrow windows in my living room. I put the socks on the gaming stool to prop them up and give some nice contrast in the light... and Lucky apparently thought I was creating a sunny pedestal for him...


Contest Update!

My friend, Tara won my Baby Arrival Pool - she was smart and not only picked my actual due date, but February 1st was Tara's birthday as well! So, let me know what you have in mind for your prize, Tara!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank You, Zonda!

A few days after Piper was born, a package arrived on our doorstep with all sorts of lovelies from the very talented Zonda. It was so unexpected and generous - we can't say thank you enough!

There was a little vest for Piper:


I have to say - this is the only thing made for her that fits her right now! All her other handmades are too big for her still.

There was also a Cotty socks and hat set for Piper:


Some Smooshy sock yarn for me(!):


I was almost afraid to put up a picture of this yarn - my Dad is addicted to the colour red and I think he is going to demand to have something made for him out of them...

And an art kit for Willow - thank you so much for thinking about her as well. She has been very good about the baby, but she has had the odd sad moment when she thinks the baby is getting more attention. And I have to say that Zonda is a dedicated knitter - not only are there tags on the outfits saying what the pattern was, yarn, and colourway - but she sent me the leftovers as well!


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow Day Schoolwork Substitution

Willow and Piper watching Cleopatra:

Willow and Piper watching Cleopatra

Willow has a biography book report project this month, and she decided to do her report on Cleopatra. Willow is a nut for anything to do with ancient Egypt and Rome, so Cleopatra was right up her alley. We bought this Cleopatra biography and she zoomed through it.

Cue to about 10 days ago when the news about Elizabeth Taylor being very sick was on tv - Willow a bit scared at how this old lady looked in the pictures. I explained the Elizabeth Taylor had been a great beauty and that she had portrayed Cleopatra in an extravagant movie before I was born. Willow said she wanted to watch it - I warned her it was over 3 hours long, but that we would request it from Netflix. However, my Mom was flipping through the channels and saw (serependitiously enough) it was playing on Encore, so I recorded it.

We had another (!!!) snowstorm blow through last night, and received the 5:30am call that there was no school today. It worked out well - my Mom also flew back to BC today, so I was glad to have Willow help with Piper. Willow said she wanted to watch Cleopatra, so that is what has been on the TV all morning. I'm impressed that Willow is critiquing the movie - explaining things to me that were different in real life.

And, no - Piper wasn't actually watching the movie -


She was fast asleep.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A New Weird Level of Hoarding...

...because really, those of us with large yarn stashes know at some level we are all guilty of hoarding. I'm lucky enough that my husband considers my stash further insulation to the house at this point, and doesn't mind my purchases as long as I keep them to a dull roar.

Yesterday, my Mom, Willow, Piper and I were at Joann's, picking up stuff for Willow's biography book report project and some buttons for a sweater Mom knit for Piper. I was helping Mom choose her buttons when I saw these:


Aren't they beautiful?!!

I have no clue what I will make with them, but I had to buy them for some as-yet-unidentified button-requiring project. And even better yet, all the buttons were BOGO! I did some searching online for a beautiful orange or yellow yarn to make a sweater with (for who, I'm not sure) but haven't found anything that grabbed me yet. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Flight of the Cookie Dough Mansion

You know, if I dug through my photo albums, I could probably find a picture of our good friend Keith from 10+ years ago when we lived and taught English in Japan, but he probably wouldn't appreciate that very much...

My friend Keith is now a writer, and he has a children's book available on Amazon:

It had lights made of gumdrops, and beams of white chocolate.
It had two stripes of red hot bubble gum for doors, and windows framed in peppermint.
Its roof was made of cookie dough, and the walls were too.
It was a Cookie Dough Mansion.
And it was flying.


A magical adventure never tasted so good.

For children ages 5-7. Approximately 5,000 words. Please note there are no illustrations beyond the cover.

You can purchase the ebook at Amazon.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finished Object... Um, Wednesday?

I have to say, not being in the office everyday has completely messed with my sense of calendar time. I have no clue what day it is other than it is a weekday because Willow has to go to school.

The Reverse Mullet Jaywalkers are finished!


I actually finished them about a week before Piper arrived, but wasn't able to snap some good shots of the socks.

Close Up:


I love the mix of the pink and white! It's funny, because I am so not a pink person, but this yarn called to me.

Another Close Up:


The Particulars:

Pattern: A bastardized version of the Jaywalker pattern, with the chevron pattern in the front, plain stockinette in the back.
Needles: Size 1 Knitpicks 16" circulars
Yarn: TLS Dover Superwash Sock in the Crushed Candy colourway

Would I make this pattern again? Not sure yet - I mean, the modifications were easy enough, and certainly made the knitting go faster... but I haven't tried on the socks yet... Willow (the sneaky bum!) has tried them on and they are slightly big on her, which disheartens me on my chances of a good fit.

And what do you do with the baby while you are trying to take pictures of the finished objects?


Put her at the other end of the blanket! And let me tell you - that was easier than trying to hold Piper and compose this post.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lucky Shot


You aren't seeing the bigger picture above, but Lucky was sharing a blanket with Piper:


Lucky is still getting used to Piper, and at this moment he decided he was going to share her blanket with her since a lovely bit of sunshine was crossing the blanket. To get the first photo above, I laid down on the floor with them and managed to catch that great sunlit profile shot of Lucky.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Enjoy some gratuitous Piper pictures!

My Dad seems to think this baby is never awake because in almost all my pictures so far her eyes have been closed. Trust me - she's awake an awful lot - but it usually happens to be between one and five o'clock in the morning...


Piper's Monkey face blowing kisses:


And my peaceful sleeping Piper:


It's interesting - as much as I think Willow and Piper look alike, I can already see differences. It may be only due to the fact that Piper is a pound and a half smaller than Willow was at birth, but Piper has more angular features than Willow did at this age. She also has my lips, unlike Willow, who has her Dad's wide smile. I'm eager to see what colour her eyes end up being. It took Willow nearly two years to settle on a colour - she started off with the newborn blue, then green for nearly 18 months, and eventually landing on a hazel colour. Piper's eyes are newborn blue right now, but are quite light coloured around the iris, which makes me wonder if she will end up with lighter coloured eyes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday's Child is Fair of Face

Piper Jean has arrived!

IM001916 Jo & Piper 1

Me and Piper

I love how in the first picture taken of the two of us she is sticking out her tongue. Somehow I think this is predicting things to come.

Piper was born on her due date, February 1st, 2011, via induction. I had been hoping to go into labour on my own since I had also been induced with Willow, but my OB decided that due to some health concerns that Piper needed to come out at 40 weeks. My Mom had arrived a few days earlier, so on the morning of February 1st, Andrew, my Mom, and I slowly made our way to the hospital in an ice storm for my 6am induction appointment. Willow spent the night at her other grandparents' home, and didn't even have the benefit of school to distract her as all the schools were closed due to the weather.


Andrew and Piper

 The L&D nurses check me out, and determine that I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced, so this wasn't going to take long. I was hooked up to a pitocin drip and Andrew went back home to retrieve my hospital bag (seems everyone forgot to bring it, even though I had pulled it down to the front door...). After that, nothing happened for a few hours. The nurse would come in every half hour and up my dose of pitocin, and my Mom and I worked on our knitting (a baby sleep sack for her, purple and blue socks for me), and Andrew read Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars (his birthday was the day before and this was my and Willow's gift to him).


Big sister and little sister

 Around 11am the contractions were finally becoming potent enough for me to ask for some drugs. I was determined to be more proactive about pain management this time - with Willow I had three failed epidural attempts and in the end had an unanticipated drug free birth. The nurses administered stadol, which promptly put me to sleep for about two hours. Apparently I snored.

IM001913 Piper 2

Even outside the womb my hand still goes in front of my face!

When I woke up I asked that the epidural be administered now. I was very apprehensive about this - as I mentioned above, eight years ago the anethesiologist couldn't complete the procedure with Willow. He said my vertebrae are very close together and I was so far into my labour that I was not able to relax enough to allow him to put the needles in. I had explained this to the nurse earlier, so she advised to have the epidural early before the contractions became too strong. The epidural hurt. A lot. I didn't realize there was so much patient participation involved. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, my arms around the nurse as if hugging her, back hunched over - and between contractions I had to guide the anethesiologist as to what is the middle vs. right vs. left of my spine so he can put the needles in the right place. But, it ended quickly, and relief was blessedly quick.

IM001915 Piper

What is this goop in my eyes?

 The epidural felt weird. I had no feeling between my mid-torso to about mid-calf - but had no problem moving and rotating my feet and ankles. The nurse asked if I can feel any of the contractions. I told her it isn't pain, but I definitely feel pressure and I can feel the baby moving inside down the canal. She said that was great - so many people can't feel anything at all, and it makes it difficult to know when to push.

Sleepy Piper

Sleepy Piper

About 2:15pm the OB came in and said that I am 10cm dilated and we are good to start pushing. The nurse installed this bar up around hip level on the bed, and between her, my Mom, and Andrew, they manage to get my dead legs braced against the bar to give me some leverage while pushing. This was never offered with Willow, and I think it worked very well. After about an hour of pushing, Piper was bumping right up against my pubic bone, so the nurse and I played tug-o-war with a towel (I kid you not!), and Piper's head was able to dip under and make the last descent. The last thirty minutes were pretty much a blur - the crowning was pretty intense, but not painful. Piper came out quickly in a straight shot at 3:50pm, with her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck two times.


Little Miss Pouty Lips

 Andrew cut the umbilical cord and the nurses whisked her away to clean her up. They called out her stats - 6lbs, 10.5oz, and 18.5 inches long. What?!?! What happened to the baby that was supposed to be verging on 8 pounds? She was just a tiny little bean! The OB took care of me - I had a small internal first degree tear. The nurses put Piper on my chest and she looked up at me - and I was in utter love.


Piper and her blanket

We came home two days later, and I was never so grateful to have my Mom here with us. No matter how good the baby or how well you are recovering, it is hard to take care of a newborn. You yourself are exhausted, your baby is adjusting, your body is going haywire with hormones - and no matter whether you are a first time mother or seasoned professional, nursing is not terribly intuitive. And if you are really lucky like me, you come down with mastitis to boot. I thought I was coming down with the flu because I was all headachey and having hot flashes and chills. It wasn't until some angry hot red patches showed up on my breasts that I clued into what was going on. Antibiotics and Advil became my bosom buddies (pun intended!).

Those Cheeks!

Look at those cheeks!

Here we are, a week later. Piper is gaining weight - athough Mom and I had to go out to Carter's yesterday and buy up a wardrobe of newborn clothes because she was absolutely swimming in all the 0-3 months clothes we had. She's a tiny little bean - in fact, I started calling her Piper Bean instead of Piper Jean! Nights can be hard - we seem to alternate between nights where I am lucky enough to get 6-7 hours of sleep spread out, and nights where when I finally get her down I have been awake for 19 hours and am weepy with exhaustion. Piper is a fantastic nurser, and cracks me up because she wants to hunt for the breast and growls while nursing.


Piper and Lucky

 Willow absolutely adores her baby sister and wants to hold her all the time, but the Lucky the cat was so put out when we first brought Piper home that he hid out in the basement for a few days and then peed in the bassinet. He is coming around - for a cat who was upset, he gets into an awful lot of her photos.


Lucky the Sentinel

 We are so blessed - Piper is a happy, healthy baby. We couldn't have asked for anything more.

Bear Bum