3.30.2016

Our Sunbeam in Burda : Drawstring Dress with Ruffled Sleeves

When I was pregnant with Iris, I saw an acupuncturist to help me with my morning sickness.  This particular acupuncturist was from Taiwan and I always enjoyed my conversations with him.  He often had great insights or reflections about health or American life.


One of the first things he told me upon hearing I was pregnant was that it was very important for me to think positively.  "You must focus on the good and the beautiful and the true. Align your thoughts with these things.  Also, you must only listen to beautiful music - no rock and roll!  And only positive movies and television programs.  If you do these things, you will have a happy and peaceful child."


I was skeptical.  "Really?" I asked.


"Yes," he nodded, slowly, but confidently.  "In the East, everyone knows that what you think about during your pregnancy influences the baby.  Five thousand years of Chinese medicine will not be wrong."


I thought about it and decided, why not?  It aligned with my values and it certainly couldn't do any harm.  I also felt like this was a message I was supposed to internalize at the time.  I was hearing it everywhere.  Empty nesters would stop to tell me, "Enjoy these days.  They go so fast!"  I was reading books about being present and about mindfulness.  


And so, for the next nine months, I was positive, if not positively sappy.  I read the book 1000 Gifts about gratitude.  I started a gratitude journal and wrote in it daily.  I listened to uplifting music.  Even Iris' birth was joyful and serene.


After she was born, Iris took her first breath and we heard that reassuring first cry.  And then she didn't stop crying.  She just cried and cried and cried.  For months, she cried.  I eliminated dairy, I took her to see a chiropractor, I wore her in a sling constantly and I spent hours on PubMed pulling journal articles on colic, trying to figure out why my baby was so unhappy.


I've mentioned here before that Indigo was a very easygoing and happy baby and Tia was my champion sleepers which I, of course, attributed to the improvement in the quality of my parenting.  (hehe)  So, yeah, Iris obliterated that theory.  We joked she didn't get the fourth child memo.


But one day, Iris finally did stop crying.  It didn't happen abruptly, but it did happen eventually.  And when she did, she had enough pure, exuberant joy inside her little body for 10 people (maybe even 100).  I am not sure that there is a more sunshiny child on the planet.  She's a living, breathing exclamation point... or three (!!!).


She walks with a bounce in her step and says things like, "Mama, you are my best friend ever," or "Mama, you are so kind to me," out of the blue.  One morning she came in to wake me up and whispered to Tia, slowly and dramatically, "She just looks so peaceful!" about me sleeping. (haha)  She cracks us up and it's hard not to be joyful when she's around.  She's our sunbeam.



I guess I'll never know for sure whether Iris's cheery disposition has anything to do with the advice I received from Chung or whether it's just the way she was wired.  But I know we couldn't imagine her any other way and that she is the perfect fit in our family puzzle.


With the wildflowers in bloom, Dan and I decided to get the kids together for a family photo at a local park.


One of the things I love about being a parent to five children is observing how they are each so unique.  Individually, they all shine in their own ways.  They each bring something special to our family dynamic.   And they are all loved fiercely for who they are, by Dan and me, and by each other.


{Iris is wearing a Burda pattern : Drawstring Dress with Ruffled Sleeves in an Art Gallery Denim cool foliage.}


24 comments:

  1. Every time I read your posts, I feel so happy afterwards! You really make me look forward to being a mom (no worries, no teenage mommy aspirations for me. But I looove kids, so in a sense I am eager to see what my kids will be like.) I love your pictures and I love the way you write about your beautiful children. I keep writing this every time but I can't help it, it's so true!

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  2. I love this post! Love, love, love it! You are so gifted at telling your story, Rachel. She is precious. I have considered reading that book about 1000 gifts. Hm...

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  3. You have such a beautiful family and create a beautiful life! These pictures are just stunning! It's funny how each child comes with such a unique personality.

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  4. What a beautiful post and pictures. (I also love your blog header, is it new?)

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    1. Thanks so much, Marina! And yes, it is new, but my kids tell me it’s too "pizazz-y” so I may change it to something a bit more streamlined! :)

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  5. What a great story!! I don't think I have it in me to be that upbeat, but I find the mind/body link very fascinating. Iris is absolutely a ray of sunshine (like the goddess Iris, the rainbow, holding up the sky?) and her big brown eyes!!! So sweet. I love her little dress - it reminds me a little of the Roller Skate Dress, with a lower waist and flutter sleeves and ribbons on the side instead of the front ... hmmmm !!!

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  6. so I'm dying to know: did the acupuncture help with morning sickness? and, I love all of these pictures! :)

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    1. I think it definitely helped, but was not a cure all. The World Health Organization lists it as an effective treatment for morning sickness based on clinical trials. I had acupuncture for morning sickness with both Iris and Hazel. With Iris, my morning sickness was much more manageable and I thought it was due to the acupuncture. I had a great pregnancy. With Hazel, I had unrelenting morning sickness that felt like I had a stomach virus for 14 weeks, and then continued nausea through the 20th week. Acupuncture didn't seem to make any difference half of the time and the other half of the time it took the edge off. However, I never had that bone deep fatigue with my last two pregnancies that I had with my first two, even though I was older and had more children to care for. I took much better care of myself in general, though. It has gotten me into labor twice, on the acupuncture table (though I was past 41weeks along). Even still, I do think it helps, with some things more than others.

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  7. Gosh, what beautiful photos (as always), and what a great story! Our colicky baby (oh boy did he cry) later became the little one we called 'our sunshine' and would sing 'You are My Sunshine' to. What an odd coincidence! At almost 15 he still has a very sunny attitude to life. May your Iris continue to shine :)

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  8. Stunning photography and beautiful story!! I love that she and Tandy hit it off so well! Tandy is also our joyful one. I can attest to this dress being even more beautiful in person!

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  9. I love the new look of your blog, sweet! it really shows your photos' beauty. Love your words too. you are getting really good at this story telling thing... maybe you should consider becoming a writer... Love your love for motherhood. you DO know you always are a great source of inspiration to me. love and hugs
    Soph

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  10. Such a beautiful post, Rachel! I am all aaaww inside! The dress is so pretty and your photos are stunning! So so beautiful, I can't even pick a favorite! I love them so much!

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  11. beautiful photos and post...and i'm so glad to see you made this dress! i've wanted to make it - any tips? was it pretty straightforward?

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    1. The instructions read like they were put through Google Translate :P but it’s a straightforward pattern, the grading is awesome, and the finishing is beautiful. Everything is bound, so this dress looks almost as beautiful on the inside as the outside. I was very impressed with that. I find with Burda patterns, for my girls, there is a 3-4 size difference between length and width based on measurements. But unlike some companies where their chest sizing is generous, my experience with Burda is that it might be a bit too fitted for my taste. So I would recommend going up one size based on the chest measurement (or if you’re in between sizing definitely go up) and maybe add a little length, too - I think they can tend to run short, but I add length to everything. Oh and I also used elastic through the casing instead of the twill tape - sewing the twill tape to the elastic at the edges.

      I’m sure you can figure it out! I love this pattern and want to make it again - it’s a good one.

      xx
      rachel

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  12. What a great story! I definitely think your state of mind influences your unborn child. But I also wonder if the child's personality influences your state of mind when you are pregnant... I began to think this more strongly after my pregnancy with my second, which was such a different feeling from my first.

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    1. This is a fascinating thought! I have felt uniquely different with each of my pregnancies! I would not be surprised if that turned out to be true!

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  13. Your photography is fantastic and so consistent from post-post. I'd love to hear more about your approach.

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    1. Thanks so much! I have been working at my photography for over 5 years now and I still feel like I have so many areas that could be stronger. I don't feel like I have post-processing consistency completely nailed, either. I try to stick with clean processing, using Lightroom with additional tweaks as needed in Photoshop. However, I really prefer not to have to bring my photos over to Ps. I do 90% of my editing in Lr. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. xx

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  14. What a lovely post! I don't often comment on your blog but I s enjoy reading it. I was lucky to have a very happy, healthy pregnancy too, and now have the happiest little 2 year old boy who brings so much joy into our lives.
    This is such a lovely dress too! I've always been a bit put off Burda patterns because I've heard the instructions aren't very good - maybe when I feel a bit more experienced sewing I will brave it!

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    1. That's so great! <3

      I think it is true that the instructions on Burda patterns are difficult to understand, in my opinion. Which is too bad because I otherwise love their patterns. For newer sewers I would recommend patterns by indie designers. :)

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  15. I had to go back and look at the pictures because I was so engrossed in reading what you were saying, I realized I hadn't even looked at them! The dress is so cute. And you made me want to try acupuncture!

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  16. Ah Rachel, such beautiful photos. Iris is a fab little kid and not everyone can be perfect all the time! Here's hoping she never grows into one of those grouchy, stick wielding grannies! :)
    As your rational, sceptical friend I'm glad all turned out well, but to draw conclusions from samples of one, or even five, well that's dodgy scientific method! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
    After P was born and proved to be an incredibly "active" baby, I had a mother suggest it was probably because I had been so active during my pregnancy (as in continued my life).
    As if, by stopping doing everything I normally did, I could be assured of a restful baby. You can imagine my reply. It was three words, starting with an exasperated "oh" and ending with an emphatic "off".
    As my kids now say to me "you get what you get, and you don't get upset"
    Little kids are so much more interesting and fun than babies, in my book. I'd love to come over and play with Iris (and I'd be sure to watch my language! :) )

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  17. A beautiful post and I lOVE this dress!! Gorgeous photos too!! xx

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