8.31.2014

Another Newborn Gown with a (free) pattern to come

Do you remember how I mentioned I didn't do much sewing for Hazel during my pregnancy because when I sewed for Iris while pregnant nothing ended up fitting her?  Yet, despite the bad luck with fit, I decided to give these newborn gowns a try.  As it turned out, those gowns are way, way too big in the neckline, at least on my baby.  Here's Hazel in one.

too big newborn gown
wah wah

That gown was right out of the drier and I photographed her in it immediately.   It was only going to stretch out more from there.  Also, I forgot to add the seam allowance to this neckline so it's my smallest neckline of the three gowns I made from the pattern.   When we brought Hazel home from the hospital she was an absolutely tiny (at least in my world) 7 lbs 4 oz.  Then, I had hoped she'd grow into them.  Now she's a whopping 9 1/2 lbs.  Growing into them is not going to happen.

Nonetheless, Hazel has been living in newborn gowns.

newborn gown

They are easy and so convenient for diaper changes.  My pal Rachel from Stitched in Color is pregnant and suggested I create my own pattern.  She wanted to make a gown for her wee one on the way.

newborn gown 

And so I did.

newborn gown

I'm really happy with the way the pattern/gown turned out.  I'd like to make at least one more version and then I hope to make the pattern available for free.   Writing out tutorials takes me a really long time, so it may take me a month or so to make it all available.

newborn gown

Also, I tried out stretch thread for the first time.  I can't attest to how it will hold up long term, but so far, I really like it.  I mentioned here that I was having some trouble with my hems breaking but I thought stretch thread was expensive at $10/cone.  It turns out, it's much less expensive than I thought and I found it on sale here for $3.44/cone (2,000 yards).  It looks like the sale might end today, though.  I bought it in a few basic colors.  Shelley suggested buying a medium gray because it works well with so many other colors.  Brilliant, Shelley!

newborn gown

Hazel is doing so well and we are all pretty smitten with her. Of the kids, Indigo in particular is absolutely crazy about her.

sisters sisters

I like to call Indigo 'Mini-Mama' because she likes to swoop in and hold Hazel at every chance she can get.

hazel and indigo
hazel hazel indigo and hazel

I can't say I blame her.  I find her irresistible, too.

hazel

Dan says it's no wonder babies are called little bundles of joy, because they are exactly that - and such little bundles, too.

our bundle

Of course, that's not to say every moment is only joyous.  Hazel cries with gusto and when she's awake, she pretty much insists on being in-arms at all times, usually mine.  But, at least so far, she also sleeps with gusto.  This is unchartered territory for us, having a newborn who likes her sleep.  And I'll tell you, it makes things so much easier.

8.25.2014

A Skater Dress, School Days, and Hazy Days

Tomorrow I will officially have a kindergartener.  This girl right here.

playing dress up
  Tia, playing dress up

Late last spring, we made the decision to enroll Tia in an art-based, play-based half-day (morning) kindergarten program.  Iris will be joining her two mornings a week, too for their young 3s program.  They have an outdoor classroom, a vegetable garden, and Tia will only have nine other kids in her class.  It's perfectly our philosophy.  It will give her something fun to do while I work on homeschooling with the older two kids.  And I won't be as stretched at home.  Jude and Indigo came to homeschooling knowing how to read and write, having been in school, and that worked so beautifully for us.

tia

 Tia is absolutely obsessed with art and after we toured the school she asked, "Can I started tomorrow?!"  She's so excited.

tia the artiste


Of course, such a big occasion as starting school for the very first time called for a special dress.  I chose the Skater Dress (highly modified).  I shortened the bodice, added width to the skirt and gathered it, and left off the sleeves.

skater dress 

I bought the fox fabric here.  I had planned to use it to make something for Iris last spring, but the moment Tia laid eyes on it, she fell in love and asked me, ever so sweetly, if it could become hers.  How could I refuse?  I love when my girls share in my enthusiasm for fabric.

skater dress

 Tia was so excited to try on her new dress for the first time.  But when we got outside to take photos, she said, "Mom, how about this?  You give me a treat or in every picture, I will make this face."

skater dress


I said, "Ummm, no.  How about this?  All dresses received with grumpiness will be returned to me."  :)  And with that, I lucked out and she cooperated.

skater dress


Hazel is doing so well and we are soaking in all things newborn.  She's such a sweet, sweet baby.  It's been hard to come up with a suitable nickname for her.  Indigo calls her Swazel, a combination of Sweet Hazel.   I've found myself calling her Hazy. I've been kind of obsessed with taking photos of her.  Newborns change so quickly and I'm astonished at how hard it is for me to remember the details of my other newborns.  Maybe it's because newborn days are kind of hazy in their own way.   Here are some photos of our Hazy days.

hazy days 
  hazy days 

hazy days 
hazy days  
hazy days  

  hazy days 
 
hazy days hazy days
hazy days

8.20.2014

Settling in with Hazel... and a little about her name

Hazel is 9 days old already and settling in so well.  She is such a sweet baby and seems to have an easy going temperament.  She loves to be held during the day, mostly by me.  When I'm holding her, she's happy as a clam.  When Dan or the kids hold her, she usually starts to get fussy and sometimes just plain mad.  She's not content out-of-arms for long.  But considering that while I was pregnant I was 'holding' her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even holding her 12 hours a day is 50% less than she was used to.  I am loving my Boba wrap even more than my Moby.  It makes carrying her so easy.  The truth is, I'm pretty much addicted to my newborns!  I love having her snuggled up next to me.

newborn hazel

So far, she's sleeping well.  She doesn't have her days and night confused, which feels like a miracle. That's a first for us.  (I feel like I'm tempting fate by even putting that out there!).

newborn hazel

The kids are adjusting so well.  We were most concerned about Iris.  Iris had been the 'baby' for almost 3 years.  I wondered how she would do, but so far, she's been sweet and loving toward the baby.  It's been such a relief and a joy to see all of the kids interacting so beautifully with their new baby sister.

newborn hazel 

After we had Iris, we weren't sure if she would be our last.  We wanted to wait to make any decisions and see how life unfolded.  I lived as though she would be.  I was in such a sentimental place after I had her and that made everything so intense.

newborn details 

By the time Iris turned 2, Dan and I thought we wanted to have another baby, but we also thought we wanted to wait awhile to decide.  I said a prayer, releasing it and asking that if we were meant to have another child, that Dan would have a strong feeling about it when the time was right.

newborn hazel 

The very next day, Dan said he felt there was another soul meant to be raised in our family and that if we got pregnant then, in the fall, he would have time off over the holidays to help me more during my first trimester.  (As it turned out, I did have very bad morning sickness and his help meant the world to me.)

newborn hazel 

It was all rather spontaneous and yet so right.  And so we named her Hazel, which comes from the Hebrew word Haza'el: God sees.

newborn hazel 

Hazel's middle name, Theodora, is a Greek word that means 'gift of God'.

newborn hazel 

It wasn't until we adopted Tia that I was able to slow down and really appreciate the beauty of the day-to-day with my kids.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed Jude and Indigo so much.  Yet I was more inclined to think ahead to the next thing rather than fully appreciating the moments right in front of me. While I was pregnant, I looked ahead to their births.  When they were newborns, I looked ahead to their first smiles.  When they were smiling, I looked ahead to hearing their laughter for the first time, and on it went.

newborn details 

But by the time Tia came into our family, I had finally learned not to rush it.  The time by goes quickly enough already.  I started to enjoy the moments for what they are - gifts.  Beautiful, amazing gifts.

newborn hazel

And so is she.  Hazel Theodora, our precious gift.

8.13.2014

Introducing Hazel Theodora

On Monday evening, August 11th, Hazel Theodora made her grand entrance into this world at 8:13 pm.  She was our latest baby, arriving 11 days after her due date, as well as our lightest, weighing in at 7 lbs 12 oz.  Everything went so well. She's healthy and happy and just perfect!  An angel, really.  We're home and couldn't be happier.

Hazel Theodora Hazel Theodora Hazel Theodora Hazel Theodora hazel theodora Hazel Theodora Hazel Theodora hazel theodora

We're so happy you're here! We love you so much, Hazel! All of us!

8.06.2014

Some Throw Pillows and a Sneak Peek

We got a peek at our baby today.  Since I'll be 41 weeks tomorrow, my midwives wanted me to have a non-stress test and ultrasound to be sure the baby was doing well and that my fluid levels were normal.  The kids have been so excited to meet their new sister, so we invited them along to the ultrasound.  Poor Iris was so confused by what her older sisters meant by "see the baby".  While we were waiting to be called back, Iris went with Dan to pick up something from the hospital convenience store.   As she walked away, she looked at me with nervous eyes and said, "Bye, Mama!  Have a nice baby!"

Thankfully everything looked great on our scan, so we continue to wait.  Like her siblings, this baby is taking her sweet time.   While Dan and I were waiting to see the midwives, we saw an advertisement for a hospital infant care class.  We started reminiscing about the baby class we took before Jude was born.  We were a rapt audience, jotting down notes in hopes that we wouldn't mess things up too badly.   "No drinking coffee while holding baby!  Baby could get burned!"  "Get on hands and knees and crawl through entire house to be sure it's adequately baby-proofed!"   Dan and I were laughing so much remembering how fervent (and terrified) we were about it all.  We were pretty terrified.  We took every class they offered back then.

A couple of weeks ago I made some new throw pillows.  I used my tutorial here.  I actually referred to it, too, which was funny given I wrote it.  The pillows are pretty much exactly like the first set I made, except this time I serged the seams to make them more durable and I used Anna Maria Horner's velveteen in saffron instead of quilting cotton. That velveteen is so luxurious and amazing.  I also used the 16" pillow size for this project, but discovered I really prefer the 20".  Next time, I'd use the 20".

throw pillows

Our first set got pretty worn out after years of being hauled around to build forts and the like.  When actually on the couch, I really love how the colors coordinate with our paintings from Ethiopia.

  ethiopian art - mixed media
 mixed-media Ethiopian art

I thought I'd get some photos of my four kids together before we become a family of 7.

my four loves

A lot of people talk/write/blog about the importance of enjoying, even 'savoring', the baby days.  I completely agree with that advice, but with one caveat.   I say - enjoy your kids at every age!  

my crazy kids

Tia and Iris say the cutest, most innocent things, which are adorable.  Today Iris was repeatedly lecturing her siblings (less adorable). :)  Half the time, we can't even understand what she's saying exactly, but we can tell by the tone - she's definitely lecturing.  I asked, "Why do you lecture them so much, Iris?  Is it because it makes you feel big while you are still so small?"  She sadly and seriously responded, "Yes!  Because I sooo small."

my crazy kids

Jude and Indigo make me laugh every day by being intentionally funny and clever.  They come up with the most witty things...  and encouraging things... and sometimes profound things.  It's so fun to witness them become their own people, with their own ideas and insights, even.

'serious'
Here's their version of 'serious'... Jude and Indigo's prompting.

'serious'

I took some photos of the kids all stacked up, an organized monkey pile of sorts.

monkey pile monkey pile

I thought the photos were cute and fun.  That is, until I eagerly showed them to  Dan.  He said they looked like they belonged on Awkward Family Photos.  I could-not-stop laughing. Nor can I look at these photos the same... ever again.

In the birth documentary, The Business of Being Born, the midwife says most pregnant women eventually find themselves between a rock and a hard place.  The rock is knowing they have to get the baby out.  The alternative, the hard place, is staying uncomfortably pregnant forever.  And that's kind of where I am right now.  I'm uncomfortably pregnant with some trepidation, though of course a whole lot of excitement, about how this is all going to go.  I'm trying to trust and be present, enjoying what is, while knowing there's only one place to go : onward.