Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend Fun

Saturday was interesting.

Saturday afternoon, Joe discovered we had a sewage backup in our basement. We have town water and sewage, so we contacted the town and they sent someone over (2 hours later) to remove the clog down the street. It was lovely. Our basement was filling up with the town's crap water.

Luckily Joe was home. He was supposed to be away Friday and Saturday, and they changed it (on Wednesday) to Thursday and Friday. And, luckily, Joe caught it soon after it started, which is a good thing considering how fast it was coming out at first.

Jack's soccer tournament and Taylor's soccer game were cancelled due to the rainy weather, but Carter still had his. His team lost. Again. I don't think his team has won in two years. Poor guy. (Same coaches and mostly the same kids.)

Saturday evening our church had "Trunk or Treat." It was freezing and windy. The kids enjoyed it, though. Spenser was a ladybug. The boys were characters from Star Wars. (I think Obi Wan, Count Dooku, Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Or maybe Darth Vader ?)

Saturday night Joe, Sawyer, Spenser and I were sitting on the sofa. The baby started gagging, which I assumed was his reflux (Joe was holding him). I reached down to make sure he was upright and noticed that Spenser had 2 fingers in his mouth and she was the reason he was gagging. (I've found her putting her fingers and a blanket in his mouth before, but not to the point of gagging him. Although, I may have caught it earlier both times.) That girl!

And I managed to get a few little projects sewn. I was invited to a baby shower on Saturday, but when I thought Joe was going to be out of town and when I thought I was going to have a million soccer games that day, I declined the invite. (I'm still working on some of the projects...)

I machine-embroidered "Hailey" on a flannel receiving blanket. Made a total of four burp cloths (out of flannel and chenille). Two for the shower and two for a new baby girl at church. And a little pair of purple bitty booties (still awaiting the blanket stitch at the top). It felt really good to sew. Although, I must admit that I'm a little rusty. Some of my straight lines weren't so straight. And sitting made my back hurt.

Joe is now out of town until Thursday night (which is also Spenser's birthday). Wish me luck!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mail Goodness

Look what came in yesterday's mail!

Sara sent some little goodies for my little man. A little camouflage flap hat (from the Mailorder 4 pattern), adorable bitty booties, and some socks.

Both my husband and Sara's are in the Army, so it was only fitting for her to make the hat in camo! It is so freaking cute, too! And the bitty booties have that tape measure trim that I love. I have seen it on blogs before, but never in person. It adds a great touch. And one pair of the socks are stripey. Perhaps to go with my growing fascination with stripes.

Yesterday I went to the see the doctor about my back. Unfortunately, because of nursing, I can only take Motrin (800 mg). I can take Percoset, which was prescribed to me upon discharge from the hospital and never used, but my doctor recommends I only take it at night. There are a few problems with taking it at night, though. First, I don't really need it at night. Unless I am rolling over to nurse the baby, changing his diaper, or burping him (in other words, moving), I don't have any pain. The second problem is that I took it after having Mason (when he was about one week old) and woke up to find my shoulder blade on top of him. I was completely unaware that he was there. I could have squashed him! Joe is out of town (until tonight) and leaves again Monday morning for the rest of the week, so without him to make sure I don't squash Sawyer, I don't feel comfortable taking it. The benefits do not outweigh the risks!

My doctor said she would only prescribe muscle relaxers if I would "pump and dump" and give the baby formula. I think I'll wait it out...

And, she would recommend physical therapy, but she doubts (with all of my children) if I would have time for it. So, now she recommends that I do back exercises after my shower (yeah, right, I have kids to get ready for school in the mornings!!) and take the Motrin every 8 hours.

And guess what Spenser found in the exam room? More green gum!!! I saw her chewing something and asked, "What are you chewing?" She replied, "Gum." YUCK!!!!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nap Time / Bed Time

At every nap- and bed time, we put Spenser in her bed with a few pillows and a few of her favorite dolls. Shortly after we leave, she piles her bed with every book, stuffed animal, blanket, and doll she can find (in the dark).

Usually when we go to bed (about 1 1/2 hours after Spenser), we find her like this ... with her animals and pillows and dolls taking up most of the bed, and Spenser barely able to sleep and still awake.

The little plastic bucket on her bed is filled with the books I took out of her bed at nap time. And I'm sure if she knew there were books under her bed, they would have been in her bed!

This picture was taken at night (the flash lit up the room quite well).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More of the Same

The rest of yesterday, was just like the beginning.

Sawyer spent time in his carseat to help with his reflux and it seemed to help. While fixing dinner, I went to check on him (in the next room). Spenser was sitting on his "lap" in the carseat. Then during dinner I picked him up (to nurse him) and discovered he had a diaper explosion. It was all over the carseat cover, too. (And, of course, it was right before I had to take Taylor to soccer practice.)

When we returned from dropping Taylor off at soccer practice, I decided to finally eat some dinner. I walked into the family room to notice Jack wildly rocking the carseat (with baby inside). I freaked out! All I could think about was "shaken baby syndrome." Jack had to leave the room until I could nicely explain to him to never do it again!!!!!

Then, before bed, I went up into my room (to gather more dirty baby clothes to wash) and noticed that Spenser had gotten into a new container of baby wipes and had left a now-dried wad on my bed. The wipes had dried out, but my bed was wet!

And, please, don't think for one minute that I have remained calm in all of these situations. I tried, but I wasn't always very patient or kind. (I think I laughed hysterically at the already-chewed gum incident because I needed to release my frustrations!)

Thankfully it's a new day. Update added: Maybe today will be better. The school bus arrived earlier than normal and the boys weren't at the bus stop. The bus waited for them (and they are the only ones at that bus stop, too). The bus was stopped and waiting before we even opened our front door!

On a good note: Sawyer is one month old today! Can you believe it's been a month? It seems like yesterday I was posting that I was still pregnant!!! Time's a-flying over here! (And do you see his bitty booties??)

Hopefully, we will get some rest soon ...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Most Days are Like This

Yesterday mid-morning I started having some back pain. I have had back pain intermittently for probably 15 years. Yesterday it hit full force.

I could barely get up off the sofa, pick up the baby, move, walk, etc. I could not bend over to save my life. Yet, as a mother, I had to keep going.

This morning it was a little better, with the help of Motrin. At least I can walk and move.

So as I'm running around this morning (actually limping around hunched over) trying to get the three older boys off to school, I put Sawyer on the sofa. He wasn't happy to be left there, but it was only going to be for a few minutes. He was crying when I put him down and when I went to check on him, he was lying on the floor between the sofa and the ottoman with Spenser standing above him saying, "come here." He didn't appear to be hurt, as he stopped crying shortly after I picked him up.

Then we're running out the door to take the baby to his one-month checkup and Mason to preschool. Things went okay.

First, Spenser spilled her cup of water in the waiting room. Then I knocked it over. And then she spilled it in the triage room. Then the doctor told me that the lab screwed up his PKU and it has to be repeated. Then, Spenser climbs under the chair and emerges minutes later with a wad of green, spearmint gum in her mouth!!! And it wasn't hers! I was so grossed out, yet I couldn't stop laughing!

At least no one forgot to take his lunch to school today! Or forgot his clarinet.

The doctor checked out the baby and didn't see any injuries from his 'fall' today. My little man is 10 lbs. 4 oz. (birth weight was 7 lbs. 7 oz.). He has been gagging a lot lately, which we are suspecting is reflux. I am to keep an eye on him and keep him upright (even while sleeping) to see if it improves. If it continues, he may have to take medication to control it.

Reflux in babies can be very scary. My youngest brother (who is now 20) had it when he was born and had to be hooked up to a SIDS monitor for a year because the reflux made him stop breathing and it lowered his heart rate. It can be very scary for moms, too! Every time he starts gagging, I jump and (while freaking out, of course) and try to roll him over to his stomach or sit him up. Nothing ever comes out, though.

One good thing that happened today was that I checked the mail and received a birthday present from my long-time friend, Kathie. (We have been friends for about 32 years!)

A book on making children's clothing patterns! I have been wanting to learn how to make patterns (children's and adult) and I can't wait to get started. Thank you, Kathie!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A New Skirt

Here is the brown corduroy skirt I made on Saturday. I tried sewing French seams, which I'm not exactly sure if I was executing it properly. It was my first attempt at this technique.

Then I attempted the same technique on my pants (from PJ pattern). I guess I didn't allow enough extra seam allowance and they are a little snug around my thighs, hips and bottom. I can still put them on, they are just a little tighter than I prefer. I tried them before I sewed the drawstring casing and hemmed them. I was so disappointed that they didn't fit exactly how I had planned, so I stopped. I tried them on for Joe last night and he said they look fine, so I may go ahead and finish them ... some time.

(And last night I cut out some pieces to sew a new fall bag. I'll sew that when I finish my pants.)

photo courtesy of my son, Taylor.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thank Goodness it's Friday ?

There is no school today for the three older boys ... yipee for me! (just teasing)

Taylor was playing with the camera this morning and when I downloaded the pictures, I found this one of Taylor and Spenser (taken by Taylor). It cracks me up!

Here are two pictures of my littlest man, Sawyer. He is finally big enough to fit into his onesies. Yay for growing baby!

And this morning was his "first bath." (His umbilical cord fell off last week, but the belly button was looking a little oozy, so I opted to wait for a few more days.) He hates water in his face and getting dressed and undressed. Luckily I snapped this picture before I washed his face. It went downhill from there!

And yesterday at school, the 2nd grade had a "pajama party." They earned this party for good behavior in the cafeteria, hallways, etc. So, Carter (who did not want his picture taken) wore his Incredibles pajamas.

And this weekend I will try to sew something. I originally bought 2 yards of brown corduroy to make a new skirt to match these stripey tights I bought.

Now I think I am going to make a pair of pants, using my pajama bottom pattern (with a drawstring waist). The problem is that I don't have enough corduroy to make pants. Jo-Ann is having a big sale (starting today) and I plan return and buy more brown corduroy. Hopefully my plan will work and I will be sporting a new pair of "pants" by next week. To wear with my new shoes, of course!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Little Happier

A few things have made me happier since yesterday's grumpy post.

First, all of your kind words and comments. Thank you! I know I should just 'relax,' and I am trying ... please bear with me.

Then, my shoes arrived from Zappos. I bought these for myself using birthday money I received. I am thinking this is the most I have ever paid for shoes, but they are worth it!

Even Spenser agrees!

Then I treated myself to a piece of birthday cheesecake (after lunch) and a Bergers cookie (after dinner). And I wonder why I can't lose my girth!

This is a Bergers cookie. A cookie with a layer of fudge on the top. These are truly "Baltimore." You can only eat one because they are so rich.

And this morning I tried on a pair of "fat" (capri-length) jeans. They fit! Last week they didn't fit. So I now have a 'new' pair of bottoms to wear on my bottom. As long as it's not too cold outside, I can slide by with these for now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Perpetually Grumpy

That would describe me lately.

It seems everything is going wrong. Everything. My patience has not only worn thin, but I think there are actual holes in it.

I can't fit into anything. I have 3 A-line skirts that I made and one pair of capri-length athletic pants that I can wear. (Oh, and my pajama bottoms.) And, let me just say, that the weather has been cold and rainy. Not the kind of weather you want to be running around in wearing a skirt (and sandals). I am completely frustrated! Usually at 2-3 weeks postpartum, I can fit into my "fat" jeans. Not even close!

I won't bore you with the day-to-day things that are going wrong. But, just know, that everything seems to be going wrong.

One of the few things that are good:

Look at those little chubby cheeks! They are definitely kissable!! And munchable! And pinchable! And lickable!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Recent Thrifty Finds

Two recent thrift finds from the Swap Shop. A carafe. Love the colors. I can imagine orange juice in it right now.

And a small, children's wooden desk.

Both were absolutely free.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Love in the Mail

On Saturday a package from Angela arrived. On the left is a "taggie," as she called it. It is a small blanket with different textured ribbons attached to all four sides. Not only is it very colorful (or shall I say "Colorfool" ?), it is very soft. I'm sure the baby will love this! Spenser already does!

Angela also included a matching burp cloth, which are coming increasingly handy and scarce these days. I can't seem to have enough!

Both are made from a very adorable vintage sheet. Very cute.

And, she also sent some vintage sheets to me. Unfortunately, I packed up my sewing machine 2 days before the baby was born. Now I'm itching to get it back out!! These new fabrics are killing me. Must. Sew.

Thank you, Angela!


Little man is 3 weeks old today. His cheeks are getting fuller each day. All of the pictures I've taken lately are blurry. I guess I'll be forced to take some more!

I have to go back to Gettysburg this morning. I left a pair of my pajama bottoms in the hotel last week! Luckily we're only 25-30 minutes from Gettysburg.

And Joe got a 97% on his research paper (which he submitted last night) and a 94% in the on-line class he is taking. He already has his Masters in counseling, but is now working towards a second Masters so he can get his license to practice. The goal is that he will be finished with schooling before he retires from the Army (in 5 years) and can start another career. Yay, Joe!

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Busy Few Days

You probably think I've been partying for my birthday the past few days. The truth is, things have been hectic.

As you know, Tuesday was my birthday. I spent the morning taking Mason to preschool and running errands. Joe had taken off for the day, but didn't tell me until that afternoon. (He had a meeting in the morning and came home afterwards.)

A few friends stopped by with gifts. Those very nice, warm, and comfy Mary-Jane-style, crocheted slippers (from Target); cheesecake; Berger cookies; candles; and homemade peanut butter and chocolate candies were just a few of the goodies.

Then we had to help Taylor finish his 'character puppet' for school, based on the book The Last Battle (from The Chronicles of Narnia). He is made from recycled materials (as was the requirement). A lemonade cannister for his body, paper towel roll (cut in half) for his arms, and a paper mache head. We used paint and felt for embellishments. It took most of the afternoon. (And, sorry Nikki, we forgot about soccer practice!)

Then Joe surprised me (Mason, Spenser and Sawyer) with an overnight trip to Gettysburg. The three older boys went to spend the night with Joe's parents, since they had school the next day.

Spenser and Mason loved the hotel. They loved to jump on the bed.

And Wednesday we started celebrating Joe's 38th birthday. Yes, his birthday is the day after mine, so we have a couple days of celebrating. We had two nice days together.

I have been very exhausted the past few days, leaving me to be a grumpy mama. Sawyer did not sleep well last night. I think I saw every hour on the clock. So, not only am I sleepy today, but still very grumpy. I fussed at the boys before school ... several times. We're not off to a good start. Hopefully the day will get better.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Today I turn 37 years old.

I'm old. I know.

Since I am among friends, I thought I would share a few things with you. (After all, I've already told you how old I am, and I've told you how much I weighed!)

So here goes ...

100 Things

1. My real name is Laura.
2. All of my friends call me “Lera” (rhymes with “hurrah,” not “Vera”)
3. More people call me Lera than Laura.
4. “Lera” was an inside joke, circa 1985.
5. It was actually “Lera Fera,” and I shortened it.
6. Both names have dual meanings.
7. “Lera” was code for “Do I have a boogie in my nose?” or “You have a boogie in your nose.”
8. “Fera” was code for “Am I singing off-key?” or “You are singing off-key.”
9. My older sister and I made those up.
10. Until now, they have never been revealed.
11. You are thinking I am really weird right now.
12. I think I agree.
13. I graduated from college in 3 ½ years.
14. I wasn’t smart.
15. I was broke.
16. I was a DJ for the college radio station.
17. I played alternative music.
18. I hate spiders.
19. I check between my sheets for spiders every night.
20. That’s because Joe got out of bed one night to investigate a mysterious sound. When he left, a spider crawled out from between the sheets. I was in bed. In the dark. And I still saw the spider!
21. I have a high metabolism.
22. I eat a lot.
23. I don’t like sports.
24. Last week, someone told me I looked 24.
25. When Joe and I first married, we thought we would have 3 children.
26. We have doubled that number.
27. I am very fertile.
28. I got pregnant within 2 months of getting married.
29. Joe was away (Army training) for 6 weeks of those two months.
30. That pregnancy ended in miscarriage, at 12 ½ weeks.
31. I was afraid I would never get pregnant again.
32. I was wrong.
33. I have 3 relatives that struggle with infertility.
34. I feel guilty about that.
35. I have known Joe since the 7th grade.
36. We never dated until after college.
37. I played the clarinet from 4th-12th grade.
38. I used to speak German.
39. Vomit makes me want to throw up.
40. I hate the word “vomit.”
41. And “up-chuck.”
42. Both words make me queasy.
43. I can’t watch shows that involve throw up.
44. I can’t listen to shows that involve throw up.
45. I have to change the channel.
46. Or turn my head and sing in a “Fera” way.
47. I am the second oldest of 8 children.
48. The older sister is 38.
49. The youngest brother is 20.
50. I have four sisters and three brothers.
51. I love the smell of baby’s breath.
52. Not the flower.
53. The actual smell of my baby’s breath.
54. I nursed all of my babies.
55. They never tasted formula.
56. I have been pregnant and/or nursing since March 1996 (not including my miscarriage).
57. I never had any complications until my past pregnancy with Sawyer.
58. I threw up with every pregnancy, except Sawyer.
59. I do not like sci-fi movies and shows.
60. I fall asleep during movies.
61. Just ask Joe.
62. I could live without Comedy Central.
63. I don’t like watching shows with bad language.
64. I do not use the Lord’s name in vain.
65. I do not drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated sodas.
66. I do not drink alcohol.
67. I eat salad every day.
68. At least one. Sometimes more.
69. I like salad.
70. I drink water more than anything else.
71. Sometimes I add lemon juice.
72. I like to use straws when I drink.
73. I don’t enjoy baking.
74. I hate wafting flour.
75. It makes too much of a mess.
76. I don’t like messes.
77. Or clutter.
78. I’m partially claustrophobic.
79. I don’t like to breathe warm air.
80. Mine or anybody else’s.
81. I was punk rock in high school and college.
82. I wore all black for more than a year straight.
83. Then I wore a little red, orange, and white mixed in with black.
84. I swore I would never, ever wear pink.
85. I wear pink now.
86. I almost never wear black.
87. I do not have a favorite color.
88. I love hot, spicy, and salty foods.
89. I like chocolate, but I can live without it for days/weeks at a time.
90. I like my hair short.
91. Joe likes my hair long.
92. Right now it’s longer than I like.
93. I lighten my hair, even though I have blond hair.
94. I rarely shave my legs.
95. The hair on my legs is blond and fine, and only visible when light sparkles off of it.
96. I must wear mascara, or my eyelashes are invisible.
97. I rarely go without makeup.
98. I haven’t read a book for pleasure in more than a year.
99. I’m now in my “upper thirties.”
100. That’s scary.

So I will spend my day running Mason to preschool. Running errands. Snuggling with babies. Smelling baby breath. Running Taylor to soccer. Running Taylor, Carter, and Jack to karate. And probably laundry.

Monday, October 09, 2006

2 Weeks

It's hard to believe that Sawyer is 2 weeks old today. While it seems like yesterday that I was just waiting and waiting for him to be born, on the other hand, it seems like he has been around forever. He fits in so well. We adore everything about him. He has been such a blessing in our lives. I can't believe I've lived my life for so long without him!

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Cup Runneth Over

Yes. I have been blessed. Over and over and over again.

I have been deeply touched by your kindness. Thank you for your concerns regarding my recent bout with mastitis. I truly appreciate all of your comments. They have touched my soul.

Thankfully, with the use of antibiotics, I am feeling much, much better. Yesterday was the first day (since Monday) that I awoke fever-free and headache-free.

I have been blessed in so many ways since the baby was born, only 11 days ago.

My friends have been wonderful.

I have been blessed with seven (yes, 7) meals. My mother, Sandy (who co-hosted my baby shower), Lauren, Kim, and Amy brought dinners ... full meals including fattening desserts. My dear friend, Kathie not only brought a ton of food for lunch on Monday (my first day of feeling terrible), but she vacuumed my floors and mopped my kitchen floor! (And, yes, I am feeling bad that she did that job, but she was insistent!) And my mother brought lunch for me and the children (and drugs -- for me, not the kids) on Tuesday. We've had so much food, that we had leftovers for dinner last night and still have some food left! And offers of help and still been coming in!

Friends have visited me with Whatchamacallits; tiny Army hat; a pink handknit scarf; a true U.S.-style baby bunting (a.k.a. snowsuit); flowers and a stuffed frog (which has been kidnapped by older siblings); a scrapbook and baby boy stickers; a baby book; and baby outfits just to name a few.

And then I received a yummy little package from Shirley at Warm Fuzzies. The chocolate is actually a bookmark! How cute is that? And the little spider web earrings. Completely adorable! I love, love, love Halloween! (You may want to look at her blog to see better photos.)

I stumbled upon Shirley's blog through Craftster. I saw an adorable mouse pin cushion, with a link to her blog. Shirley is incredibly talented. She illustrates, knits and crochets, sews, cooks, and (new to me) makes jewelry! You have to browse through her blog. It is amazing.

Thanks, again, Shirley! I love them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Spoke Too Soon!

First, look at my littlest man! And, no, he's not flipping you off. It's his ring finger! Geesh! Get your mind out of the gutter!

He's making a funny little mouth because the photographer stuck her glove-clad finger in his mouth (to which he latched on) and then she pulled it out. The result was a tight-lipped mouth. Cute, but not natural.

* * * * * * * *

Remember on Friday when I said I've never felt better? Well, I spoke too soon. For the past two days I have been fighting a raging case of mastitis. I awoke yesterday morning to the obvious pain in my breast, full body aches, chills, headache, etc. And, of course, it was Joe's first day back to work. Last night my temperature reached 102.8. I was miserable all night. I could barely get out of bed to change the baby's diaper.

This morning was no better. My temperature reached 103.9 ! I was freaking out! My mother picked up some antibiotics at the pharmacy and brought them over and Joe came home from work early. I started to feel much better when my temperature dropped to 102.2 and then 99.4 (with the help of Tylenol and Motrin, taken an hour apart). I'm still incredibly clammy and hot, but I think my fever is gone ... for now.

And last week I was worried about Spenser poking the baby's eyes. Well, her first unintentional eye-gauging victim was moi. I'm happy it was me and not the baby, but man, oh, man it hurt! I think she actually scratched my eye. She poked me Sunday morning and it was killing me through last night. (I think I was too sick today to feel anything else.)

So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, just know that I am recuperating from various ailments.