Thursday, August 31, 2006

Yesterday's Thrifty Finds

A little sewing table. This is an old wooden table that used to have a drop-down sewing machine. It has been covered in lime green contact paper, that my boys called "green Band-Aids." The drawer is fake. This will go in my "sewing room" (which is now the sunroom/toy room) after the basement is completed for the new toy room.

Price: free at the Recycling Center's Swap Shop

A solid wooden dresser, painted off-white. This will be painted with a fresh coat of white paint and be used for the new baby. It is on the porch because Joe was using Lysol to spray down the insides of the drawers.

And the tag on the back shows it was made in Baltimore.

Price: free at the Recycling Center's Swap Shop.

An old knitting/crochet booklet of afghans (from 1980); a children's book of "More Things To Make and Do;" and a little book called "George Washington's Breakfast" from the 70's.

Price: free at the Recycling Center's Swap Shop.

I also picked up a small, off-white ceramic bowl for free, but that is in the dishwasher.

And some sheets and pillowcases from the the thrift store. The bottom one and the two on the left (top and bottom) are sheets. The rest are pillowcases. The center one had a twin, so I bought that as well. The blue one has giant butterflies all over it and was part of a triplet, so I picked those us as well. The pink rose pillowcase in the back has a nice thread count and, upon closer examination, is a Laura Ashley pillowcase. I think this will be used for Spenser's new "big girl" bed.

Price: $1.50 per sheet; 65 cents per pillowcase.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Little Bit of Everything

Yesterday morning Mason (middle) went to preschool for an ice-cream party. There was a puppet show, duck-duck-goose game, bean bag game, and a parachute/ball game. Jack (right) joined us, as he doesn't return to Kindergarten until next Tuesday. Spenser participated a little. She was afraid of the flying balls, so she stood back to observe.

And here is Spenser trying to put on her bathing suit. Silly little girl.

And a child-size embroidered tote for a special, little, 3-year-old girl whose birthday was Monday. What was inside the tote? An "official" US Army hat, which she wanted and liked more than the tote.
And my pregnancy update:
Today was my OB appointment. I am still 1 cm. (I never dilate more than that unless I am in labor for several hours. The first part goes slow. The end goes quickly.) I lost a pound! And the baby is still head down! Yeah!

Joe is home today. He had to work late one night last week (or the week before ?) and they gave him the day off today! Very big surprise for us! For more than 5 years he has worked until midnight one night a month (and had to be at work normal time the next day) and they have never, ever, ever given him time off! This is definitely a first! (And the General has given them a four-day weekend! It was just announced yesterday!)

Monday, August 28, 2006

First Day of School

Today is the first day of school for Taylor, Carter, and Jack. While I do miss them a little, I'm also happy they are gone. The past few weeks have been wild and hairy at my house as summer break was winding down. I think we need a little break. And with only Mason and Spenser home today, the house is very peaceful and quiet!

Jack is starting all-day Kindergarten. This is new to my family, as it was just phased into the school districts. With Kindergarten, Jack will only go today for evaluations, and then will return full-time next week after Labor Day.

On Friday night (before Joe made it home from New Jersey), I started to have some contractions. Maybe about 7-10 total. The first one took me by surprise and it wasn't until I had a few more that I realized what they were. (Yes, even women who have been through childbirth 5 times can question it.) At first I thought the baby was moving in a weird way because I suddenly felt a lot of pressure and then had to pee really bad. I had a hard time walking. I really thought it was just the baby.

And then I had another one a few minutes later. And another one a few minutes after that.

I never, ever have contractions unless I am in labor. At which point they are always 5 minutes apart or closer. Not necessarily intense at first, but close together.

And, I have never, ever gone early. I'm not due for three weeks!

At first I was thinking, "this is cool, I'll have the baby early." Then reality set in. Mason's birthday and party are tomorrow (Saturday). My house is not "clean" ("nesting clean," like the chair legs in the kitchen and the baseboards and the upper kitchen cabinets). The baby was only 5 lbs., 6 oz. (+ - 1/2 lb.) according to Monday's sonogram. Joe is still out of town! I don't have a name for this baby!!!!!!!!!

Not good.
Not good.
Not good.

Then the contractions stopped. Whew! And I haven't had any since!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Happy 4th Birthday, Mason!

Today is Mason's 4th birthday.

He was born at 4:38 p.m., and weighed only 7 lbs., 1.5 oz. (my smallest by far!). Everything about Mason has been a surprise. I was pretty pregnant before I realized I was pregnant. Thanks to nursing, I hadn't had my period since before I had gotten pregnant with Jack (early 2000).

When the hospital finally decided to admit me as a patient and give me a room, I was only 4 cm. Mason was born 48 minutes later. The doctor almost didn't make it in time. He was golfing.

Mason was born with red sores on his hands. The nurses said they were "sucking marks," and he was sucking his hands while he was in utero. Here's a live shot:

This is Mason and I shortly after his birth. As you can see, he's still sucking that little hand!

And this is Mason the day we were being released from the hospital. We waited and waited and waited (hours!) for the doctor to show up to sign the discharge papers, only to realize he had signed them the day before I was being released.

The boys loved Mason. When Mason was only a few days old, Jack picked up Mason while I slipped into the kitchen (for 2 seconds). Luckily I was only gone for a split second, because Jack was actually holding Mason face down (in the pillow) and Mason's face was red. After I flipped Mason over, I decided to take a picture. Jack was so proud!

And this was Mason's first birthday party. I can really see the "real" 4-year-old Mason in this picture. Those big blue eyes. Round face. Chubby arms. I could eat him up! Then and now.

Happy birthday, Superman May-May! I love you more and more everyday.

Friday, August 25, 2006

No WIP's, but Finished Projects

I finished three more party favor bags last night (after the kids were in bed) for Mason's party tomorrow. (I had started making bags for 2 girls the other night, but they called back to say they couldn't make it. I figure I'll finish those when I have more time...)

And I finished this giant-sized crochet antique bib. It's in sage green, which I was really drawn to at the store. I started this bib while camping last weekend. It is really large. Although, it reminds me of something my great-uncle used to wear to cover up his tracheotomy.

I made a few mistakes while crocheting it. I skipped a special stitch in one of the upper rows that is supposed to have tufts (or those little round "bubbles"), so it is plain instead.

I crocheted it from this free pattern. (I was supposed to pick up my bib crochet book from Heidi on Friday before we left but she called me to say she lost it. I really can't think about that right now because it has me very sad.)

And then one more little crochet project that I started while camping. It's a little felted clutch. I've never felted before, so I'm not sure if it looks right. I imagined the stitching to get tighter. It is tighter than it was, but I thought it would be even tighter. (I ran it through the washer twice.)

I used this free pattern.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Few Party Favor Bags

Here are the "boy" version of the party favor bags for Mason's birthday party on Saturday. Mason loves, loves, loves Superman, so I tried to use "Superman" colors. Until I ran out of red bias tape. Luckily, the two with blue drawstrings are for my two oldest sons.
I have a few girl bags to do. They are fuschia with light pink names. The names are embroidered, they just haven't been sewn yet. And Christy talked me into lining them. So, they are all lined with muslin. (About halfway through I was wishing I hadn't!)
These will be filled with school supplies (crayons, colored pencils, small tablets) and maybe a little candy or some snacks. I haven't decided that part yet.

And here are Joe and Spenser last night in their Army habiliments.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

36 weeks (and counting)

After my last pregnancy photo, I thought I should share what I really look like (from an angle). I'm a lot larger than the head-on shot looks! See:

I even wore the same outfit so there would be no more illusions! (I think I "smoothed" out my shirt too much in the second photo, so it looks weird between my breasts and my stomach. They are separate!!!!)

Anyway, I went to see the doctor today. My regular doctor never showed up (he was in the O.R. and his staff was really upset with him because he had patients and wasn't supposed to be in the hospital). I saw one of his associates. The baby is still head down (yeah!!!). I am still 1 cm dilated. And my cervix is still thick and long. I gained 2 lbs. since Friday morning. Hmmm. I don't know if I agree with that, but, oh well. I have now gained 35 pounds, which is the most I have gained for any pregnancy. And I'm a pound from my all-time highest weight (which was when I was pregnant with Carter, I think)! Aaaaaaaaaa! And I still have 4 weeks to go.

After my appointment, I went to buy school supplies, as school starts on Monday. It was totally aggravating. Everything has been picked over. The stores didn't have everything I needed. What I did find was mostly over-priced. I had been proscrastinating because I did not want to take all 5 kids with me. My mother-in-law came to watch the children this morning for my appointment, so I decided I better take advantage and go to the store (especially because Joe is going out of town tomorrow and Friday). As I was walking around, I had so much pelvic pressure. I was getting stressed out trying to find things. I really wanted to sit down on the floor and cry, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get back up. I grabbed what I could find. Spent too much money -- for school supplies!!! And didn't even find everything. Grrrrr!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Crocheting and Sewing! YES, Sewing!!

A little "lunch money purse" for Spenser. She loves it. When I sewed the button on, she said, "Ohhhhh. Ohhhhh. Ohhhhh." She puts it around her neck. Chews on it. Finally, a project she loves! It was very simple to crochet. I actually did it while sitting around the campfire.

It's baaaaaack!

My new sewing machine arrived Friday afternoon, right before we left for camping. I didn't have time to get it out until Monday night. I had to test it right away. Here I am embroidering some fabric for the drawstring party favor bags for Mason's birthday party on Saturday!


And a little creepy camping story. When we arrived at the cabin, Joe discovered that we had transported a live mouse in our camping stove box (which we keep in our chicken coop). I'm surprised it didn't try to escape after Joe carried the box from the chicken coop to the car (and it sat next to the car for a little bit until he loaded up everything!). Luckily for everyone (me!) that the mouse stayed in the box until we reached the cabin. I'm sure I would have jumped out of the moving car if it made it's way to the front of the car! I wonder if he was scared out of his mind traveling with 5 (noisy) kids, and a DVD player running for 35 minutes! Not to mention the time it took Joe to check us in at the campsite. I'm hoping he was a loner and didn't have a traveling companion!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Weekend and Pregnancy Update

Update: Pictures added!!

**I still can't post my sonogram picture. Blogger won't let me!!!**

Friday morning I went to see my OB. My baby was still in breech position (as he has been for over a month). His head, however, had shifted from under my right ribs to under my left ribs. I was measuring only 32 weeks, instead of the 35 I should have been. Because of his position and my uterus size, she wanted me to have a sonogram soon (and to check on the placenta position). I had dilated to 1 cm (which I never, ever do until I'm almost in labor), but my cervix was still thick and long because the baby's head was not down to push on it. She said the baby's position is "unstable" and that I should see her associate, who has a good track record of "turning" babies into position. She also said that they would probably induce 1-2 weeks early, but they would not turn the baby until that time because of the positional instability.

So, I went for my sonogram this morning. That little stinker. He's now head down and in position! This little boy has been playing tricks on me this entire pregnancy! I apparently got pregnant in December, but had a full period in January. The pregnancy tests I took at the end of February were faintly positive and just were not very convincing. Then, when I started bleeding a lot (at the end of March), I thought I had lost him. Only to find out that he is strong and healthy and it was me that was having the problems (subchorionic hematoma and complete placenta previa). Then, just recently, the placenta moved out of the cervix's way (still need to hear from today's sono if it is at a safe enough distance to deliver vaginally), which was totally unexpected at this point of my pregnancy. And then he decided to go breech on me and stay that way until sometime between Friday morning and Monday morning. If this is any indication of how he is going to be when he's born, I think he can stay inside of me .... not!

I am now going to see the doctor on Wednesday morning and I guess we'll see where exactly the placenta is and if the baby is still in position by then. I can feel a lot of pressure in my pelvic area, which I didn't have a few days ago.

Anyway, we returned yesterday from "camping." Our cabin wasn't as nice as our last one, but it was still fine for camping. This cabin had 2 bedrooms (with a full bed in each) and a sofa-bed, which Joe and I slept in. It was the most uncomfortable mattress in the world. We could feel every coil as we laid down. (I actually think the baby could feel them through my layers of fat when I laid on my left side, where his head was, and he moved into position just to get away from those coils!!!!)

A little "Yahtzee!"

The boys loved walking on the rocks next to our cabin. I don't know why. All I can say is that they are boys!

We went swimming (or at least everyone else did).

Played miniature golf (again, everyone else did, Spenser stole my ball and played instead).

Ate s'mores. Sat around the campfire.

Went to the movies and saw Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (the free movie was a few minutes away and we went Saturday morning when it was a little overcast and calling for rain). And I was able to crochet a few things.

Spenser had to be saved from the kiddie pool several times, as she was so excited she kept walking too fast and falling. I jumped in at least three times (in shoes and clothing) to retrieve her. She still had a lot of fun.

It was a short weekend, and we kinda wish it had lasted longer, but I think that's what vacations are all about.

Friday, August 18, 2006

WIP Friday

Here are some pj bottoms that I started before my sewing machine croaked (a former WIP). Something has gone awry. Despite the fact that this is the same pattern that I used for the other two, capri-length pj bottoms, the waist is not matching up ... at all ... by a few inches.
These are supposed to be full-length (33" inseam, see, I told you I had long legs!) and the legs are fine. I used a thrifted sheet and the hem of the sheet for the hem of the pants.
These will have to wait until my friend, Christy, can help diagnose the problem and come up with a solution. (I have a limited amount of sheet left ...) And until I get my new machine.

This weekend we are going "camping." Don't gasp. I know you're thinking I'm nuts to go camping when I'm so pregnant. Truth be told, we have reserved a deluxe cabin, complete with kitchenette and bathroom!!!! (and of course, air-conditioning!!) So, I'm packing up some crochet stuff in my tote and some embroidery things in a tin. I'm thinking more Stitchettes.

And Mason, again, dressed in the green power ranger costume, complete with a lion head. Despite the incredibly hot and humid day yesterday, he insisted on wearing this.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Bibs and Some Superheroes

I finally finished the bibs I had started a while back. All they really needed were straps, vintage buttons, and ribbon. The ribbon had to be secured via handsewing, so that's why I procrastinated. But, sans sewing machine, I have plenty of time to do the things I've been putting off.

And here are the two superheroes of the day.

Mason, the green power ranger, and Jack the red power ranger/spiderman combo. Mason has been obsessed with the color green lately (and the #3, because he is three, and the letter M because it is the first letter of his name, and all things Superman). I was happy he finally took off some of his Superman clothing to wear something "new."

Today is our last morning to go duckpin bowling. We've been going every Thursday morning at 10:00 to play. Taylor and Carter play for free with report cards (I just have to pay for shoe rental). So the total cost for the four boys to play one game each week is only $11.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Hungry Girl and A Scarf

Spenser, like her mother, has a hearty appetite. This girl can put away some food! Yet, she's very thin! At one point, the doctor was concerned because her weight had slipped from the 90th percentile (at birth) to around the 25th percentile (around a year old). They had even talked about her seeing a nutritionist! Even though she eats, and eats a lot, she is an active little thing. Crawling early. Walking early. Running from her 4 older brothers! Trying to keep up with her older brothers. Just imagine.

So last night I had briefly walked out of the kitchen while she was still eating. (She was eating for a full 30 minutes and even had seconds!) I heard a noise that sounded like her plate being tossed to the floor, so I hurried back in. She had tossed her plate, but not to the floor, in front of her and had grabbed Carter's leftovers and started chowing down!

Yeah, I wish her doctor could see this!!!

And here is the scarf that I started 1 1/2 weeks ago. I finished it this morning while Spenser was taking her bath. While I enjoyed making it, I'm also happy I'm finished. I like instant gratification and something that takes 1 1/2 weeks to complete is a little too long for me.

It was crocheted with ecru crochet thread (less than one spool), using size 2 steel hook. The final measurements were 2 3/4" wide x 81 1/4" long. I think it's the perfect length, although it could have been a little wider. I wanted something "summery" and feminine. I had seen a commercial with a girl wearing a summery scarf and dancing to the song You Spin Me Round (I think it may have been a Special K commercial). I liked her scarf and thought I needed one. Now I have one!

(Oh, and did I mention that yesterday I reached the 35-week mark of my pregnancy?)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An Expensive Lesson

Do you remember this? When Mason decided to buy a few items on ebay while Joe was out of town? Well, it arrived. $55 worth of jewelry for Spenser. It's cute. But it's not what I would have paid $55 for. (I'm not wild about the clasps. They look kind of cheap.)

Joe and I decided it was probably better to pay for it, then to get negative feedback for non-payment. It was from the same seller, so it would have totally looked like we backed out.

Oh well. It was an expensive lesson.

Anyway, my new sewing machine has died. It lived only 7 months. (I'm a slave labor.) It died on Thursday while trying to make labels for my swap partner. It was making a horrible noise and the screen kept showing "safety device activated." (What the ???) I did manage to get it to sew a few more straight stitches on Friday before it completely bit the dust. Luckily the machine is still under warranty and they are sending me a replacement machine. I just can't sew now. Well, technically I can go to the attic to retrieve my old machine, but I think I'll just crochet and embroider for the next few days.

Mason's birthday party is coming soon and I was planning to make monogrammed drawstring bags as party favors to include school supplies. I can't make them until I get my new machine, so I'm a little anxious about that. If all else fails, I will make the bags with my old machine and find some other way to embellish them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Is It Monday Already?

Here is Spenser, talking on Joe's cellphone. She actually called my friend, Kim, who wasn't home, but she got the machine. She didn't leave a message, but made some noise. Kim has caller ID so she called later to make sure we were okay.

And a few Stitchettes. I was limited in my thread color selection (I used what I had on hand). I always have a hard time selecting colors, so I did "traditional"-style redwork ... until I ran out of red thread, then I started with "redwork in blue" or also called "bluework." (As strange as those terms are, I've read that is what they are called.)

These were just my trial pieces. I worked on these when I had my pregnancy insomnia very early Sunday morning. I plan to do the set in redwork and frame them for Spenser's room. And then I may branch out into trying them in colors!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wristlet Swap Package Mailed

I have already warned my Wristlet Swap partner not to read this blog today, but I believe she is heading out of town for a long weekend anyway. But, if not, Jessica, don't look!

Our Wristlet Swap assignment was to make a wristlet representing where we live. I live in Maryland and Maryland is known for its yummy steamed crabs. Although these little crabs look more happy than steamed, I couldn't resist the fabric when I found it on ebay. And it fit perfectly because Jessica said her favorite colors were lime green and orange.

And then a personalized tote, patchwork bookmark, and a tissue pouch using fabrics with lime green and orange.

And a few machine-embroidered labels (before my machine completely malfunctioned and I had to quit), some lime green and orange packaged ribbon and fabric, Good & Plenty candy (her favorite), a dark chocolate candy bar, and a bar of my homemade chocolate-mint soap.


Today Joe had a "mandatory" family day at work (the Army). Every year they have a mandatory (seriously, I'm not joking) family day at an amusement park. Don't worry. The Army or the government does not fund this. Even though it is mandatory, we have to pay our own admission prices. So Joe took Taylor and Carter to Six Flags today. Luckily they were able to get discounted tickets, though, and only had to pay $20/per person instead of the regular $35. Still, it's very odd to me to make something like that mandatory.

We usually go as a family, but I'm too pregnant and uncomfortable to walk around an amusement park all day. So, I've promised to take Jack and Mason to see Barnyard this morning so they don't feel left out. (Although I have not told them where the older boys are! A movie would not compare to Six Flags.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Corners of My Home

These are Mason's feet coming out of the ceiling in our family room. Our old house has holes in the floors to allow the heat to rise. All, except this one, are covered with grates (cast-iron grates we have found on ebay and antique stores, prices ranging from $35-60 each). This one is in Carter's bedroom. It had a neat grate covering the hole, but the boys knocked over a wooden stool and cracked the grate. It is very difficult to find a replacement grate in the dimensions (and price range) we need ...

The grates that were in the house when we bought it had been replaced with cheap, nasty ones. They even had rectangular grates covering the two round ones. We have been trying to bring the house as close back to the original as possible.

If I could have reached these little feet yesterday, I probably would have kissed them.

A Re-Vamped Skirt and a Girl

This skirt was a maternity skirt until Sunday. We decided to have s'mores on the outdoor fireplace and Joe went out to start the fire. Sans kids (they all went out with him) I grabbed my seam ripper and removed the white, knit waistband from the top. Yesterday, when I had a few spare minutes when Spenser took her nap, I sewed a casing and inserted elastic to turn it back into a "regular" skirt. When I originally made the skirt, I had used a non-maternity pattern and had planned on trying to salvage the skirt and return it to "normal." The skirt started to get tight around my stomach where the knit waistband met the skirt fabric. It was time.

And last night after dinner, the boys wanted to go swimming in our little pool. Here Spenser is watching the neighbor's dogs playing in the yard. She loves watching them.

And then, upon further inspection of this next picture, I realized she is also playing in bird poop:

I love that girl!!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday. That's it. Just "Wednesday."

Poor little Spenser has been running a fever for a few days. That's really her only symptom (besides clinginess and whining). She's been (unwillingly) taking liquid Advil and it seems to be helping. I guess if it continues, I should take her to the doctors.

Yesterday I took the children to the free family movie and we watched Curious George. The boys seemed to enjoy it. Spenser, not so much. She has been such a busybody in the theater lately. She walks between Taylor (who usually sits at one end) and me (at the other end), gets in her stroller, tries to sit on my lap (there's not much room to sit there these days), sits on the arm rest, tries to sit in her own seat until it starts to close up and then freaks out, etc. I'm so worried about where she's wandering, I can't really watch the movie. Not to mention the boys keep sending me their paper cups for popcorn refills. So, I saw very little of the movie. I ate waaaaaaay too much popcorn though. I felt nauseated after the movie for most of the day. Not good. And the baby in my belly became a little active and then my stomach felt really bad with all that movement. Ugh!

Today the theater in Gettysburg is showing Nanny McPhee for the free movie, but I've decided not to take the kids. I think if I smell popcorn today, it won't be a good thing. Plus, we own the DVD and they've watched it a million times.


And totally unrelated ... do you remember these candies???

I found them at a Wal-Mart on Saturday (not my regular Wal-Mart) in a "gourmet" chocolate section. I haven't seen these since I was in college, when my roommate and I would get them out of the vending machine. They say they are from Germany.

I bought 2 boxes and the boys love them.

Talk about a blast from the past! Whew!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I know the last thing I need to be consuming is junk food. My stomach is rapidly expanding. So much so that when 1) Joe returned home after being away for four days last week, his first remark was how big my stomach had gotten while he was away; 2) when I met Kim at the movies on Wednesday, she commented on how much my stomach had grown since she had seen me on the previous Friday; 3) a certain maternity skirt no longer fits (I knew that day would come); and 4) I gained 3 pounds in 2 weeks!

So I made these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies anyway. I had been thinking about them for several days (and they don't use flour, which I need to buy). I couldn't find my semi-sweet chocolate chips, so I used milk chocolate. I think they turned out better! And they were quite irresistable, if I say so myself! (The recipe says it makes 4 1/2 dozen, which is not true. It made one sheet.)

And last night we had a chocolate fondue. Mason enjoyed dipping his giant strawberry in the melted chocolate. I was laughing at his chocolate "devil goatee." He can be a devil sometimes! (I think he had more chocolate smeared on his body than he consumed.)