Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wool Dryer Balls

I'm sure everyone has heard of those plastic dryer balls from the infomercials that you can use instead of dryer sheets.  Well you can create your own wool dryer balls for an all natural and cheap solution.  The more you use the balls, the better they get.  I have been told that they work great even after five years of use.  You can use these dryer balls instead of dryer sheets for a chemical free solution to soften your cloths and reduce static.  These balls bounce around tumbling your cloths and supposedly reducing your drying time.  (yay saving money)

You start by winding 100% wool yard around your fingers several times. 

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Take the loops off your fingers, and wind them around the other way.  After that you just keep winding  around and around creating a ball.

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You keep winding until you have a tennis ball sized yarn ball.  You can go bigger or smaller if you like.  Some people felt them, to create a core, then wind around the core again repeating the next few steps.  I thought just doing it once was sufficient.

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You then take a crochet hook and weave the end in so that the ball won’t unwind.

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Make several balls, then put them into a sock, separating each ball with a piece of ribbon. (see below)   If you don’t do this step, then your balls will unravel in the wash.  You want to felt the balls so that they stay together and don’t unwind.  You can wash on hot and dry several times, but I boiled them to make it go faster and then washed and dried once with other cloths. 

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They come out felted.  The more you use them, the better they will get. 

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I made three, and would really like more of them.  I'm guessing I would like about six of them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Month

I cant believe my baby is one month old.  In some ways it is hard to imagine our lives without her, and in other ways it seems like she was born yesterday.  Each day I see her growing and changing, and it is going by way too fast.  In just three and a half weeks I will be returning to work :(  Even though she will be in good hands and I only need to last six weeks until summer, I hate the thought of leaving my baby. 


Weight: 8.7 lbs (according to my scale)

Length: 21 in

She is definitely filling out.  I notice her growing each and every day.  She used to have a lot more wrinkles and loose skin, she is now developing baby chub on her little chicken legs and arms. 

challenges: Sleep!  the most Em sleeps at a time is 3 hrs, and she only does that once a night.  Otherwise it is 2 hr stretches or less.  We are starting Babywise to try and help this.  Although both mom and baby are much happier being on a schedule (more routine than schedule), it hasn’t helped with sleep yet.  Lets hope month 2 gets better… otherwise going back to work is going to be even more of a challenge.  Gas has been an issue for my poor baby.  We are also still tying to get her to take a pacifier.  She hates them which makes me scared that she won’t take a bottle.  We will be trying that very soon.

triumphs: Breastfeeding has gotten much easier.  For the most part, it doesn’t hurt me anymore, and Em is gaining weight nicely.  The only drawback is that night time feedings usually last an hour.  Getting that shorter would mean more sleep for us both.

Em’s new tricks: Since she was born, Em has been really good at lifting her head.  Even right out of the womb she was lifting her head and looking around.  She also blows raspberries.  I think she is starting to smile at us.  She doesn’t do it all the time, but I am fairly sure that she smiles at us, and it isn’t gas.  She also giggles in her sleep.  It is so cute!

Things that I love: I love cuddling my sweet baby.  She is such a cuddle bug.  I love watching her blow raspberries, it cracks me up.  I love seeing her dimples when she smiles. I love her after milk face.  I love the way she stretches when I open up her swaddle.   She makes the funniest faces, and is just so gosh darn cute!

Things I have learned: Baby girls can have a period due to the drop in hormones they were getting from mom.  Breastfeed newborns don’t just poop… they shart… and it is loud.  If your baby cries when you put them in their car seat, start swinging the car seat, Em quiets right down. The noise of a hairdryer can quiet a screaming baby.  A good amount of wake time  for a newborn is 45 min.  It is ok if your baby cries, sometimes they need to release stress or burn off energy to fall asleep.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Try to take a walk every day, getting in the sun and getting out of the house will do you a lot of good.  Accept help whenever it is offered. Pray. When I see myself stressing out, worrying too much, etc, I pray.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dying Fabric

Last week my Grandpa died.  He was an amazing Grandpa and although we are sad to say good bye  to him, he is in a much better place.  He served in the air force and due to a motorcycle accident just before he was about to ship out to fight in WW2, he became an airplane mechanic instead.  After he was discharged, he worked on space shuttles in the Apollo program.  He was the type of grandpa who was always busy puttering around in the back yard.  He grew us watermelons in the summer and pumpkins in the fall.  He always had tomatoes and baby carrots growing in his garden because he knew we liked them.  He was an amazing grandpa.  One day, he got sick, and wasn’t the same from that point on.  He ended up developing dementia and the last few years of his life, he was just a shell.  He was a Christian man and I know that he is now in heaven. 

This probably wasn’t the start you were expecting for this post, but he died one week after I had Em, and his funeral came just two weeks after I had Em.  My sister was put in charge of shopping for something for my newborn to wear since I wasn’t feeling up to shopping yet.  Believe it or not, it is hard to find funeral cloths for a newborn.  Everything is pink, which isn’t exactly a funeral color.  So my sister found this black and white dress, some tights, and a long-sleeved onesie , sweater, and had that I could die black.  She also found a black flower that I hot glued onto the had after I dyed it. 

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Dying fabric is so much easier than someone would think.  I just followed the directions on the Rit dye box.  It is important to make sure you check the material that you are dying because there are slightly different directions for different material.  Since I was doing cotton, I dissolved the dye in some warm water, put it in a pot with more water, and added a cup of salt.  Once it was simmering, I wet my fabric with warm water and put it in the pot.

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I stirred it with a chopstick for 30 min. and then rinced it until the water ran clear.  You just wash like normal, and done!  Super easy. 

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She looked so sweet in her outfit.  I never thought I would be dying fabric one week after giving birth, but it worked out really well.  My sister pointed out that I should use this for when I have cloths that have stains.  I am terrible and drop things on my shirts all the time.  Now I have a plan for those ruined cloths :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Emmalynn Ronee- Her birth story

This is a disclaimer that the following post may be a tad personal and graphic…. it’s the story of my baby’s birth.

Friday after work, I decided that it was officially time to serve Emmalynn her eviction notice.  So, I tried every natural induction method I could think of (with the exception of Caster oil).  I cooked the famous eggplant parmesan recipe, ate an entire pineapple, went for long walks, bounced on my birth ball, broke out my breast pump, and got busy ;)  And……. nothing.  Saturday I woke up still pregnant and a tad disappointed.  So, I did a little more of the same.  After going my entire pregnancy with out even a Braxton Hicks, I began to have contractions on Saturday around 11:45. 

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Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.  My contractions continued for the next 24 hours.  They increased in intensity, but never became consistent.  They would vary between 3-10 minutes apart.  Around 11 on Sunday I realized I hadn’t felt Em move in a while, so I woke up Lan and we went to Labor and Delivery to make sure everything was still ok with her.  In triage they checked me out and said that Em was fine, but that my fluid was low.  I had two options.  I could go home and wait for my contractions to become consistent, or they could induce me.  If I went home, then I ran the risk of her cord getting pinched because there wasn’t enough fluid around her.  If I chose to get induced, then I had a 60% chance of a c-section because I was only 1 cm.  Well faced with the options of risking my baby’s health and risking a c-section, the decision was an easy one. 

After being admitted, they decided to use a Foley bulb where they put a tube into your vagina and then blow it up.  Then they tape it to your leg to put pressure on your cervix along with a slow drip of Pitocin.  This is designed to help you dilate the first three centimeters, and then they would up my Pitocin.   Well, at this time, my contractions were really intense and I was shaking violently and crying.  They laid me down and put in my Foley bulb, and right when they finished, I started puking.  The nurse convinced me to get my epidural early (not that I needed a whole lot of convincing at that point).  They did some numbing shots, so then doing the epidural was actually pretty painless, and it brought immediate relief.  I could feel the cool liquid entering my body, and my shaking and puking stopped as my legs started to tingle.  All of a sudden I was an immediately different person.  I was now smiling and chatting.  They finished up my Foley bulb by taping it to my leg.  They turned on my Pitocin, and not 7 minutes later, Em’s heart rate dropped.  They turned off my Pitocin, put oxygen on me, and quickly turned me on my left side, which was pretty scarry.  Her heart rate came back up pretty quickly though.  They decided to let the Foley bulb work without the Pitocin and see what happens.  At this point my parents arrived to wait out labor with us.  Taking the advice of friends, I tried to rest as much as possible. 

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When they checked me again, I had gone from 1-7 all on my own.  They tried turning on my Pitocin and thirty minutes later I had four intense contractions in a row and Em had another drop in heart rate.  They turned it off for about twenty minutes to give Em a break, then turned it on again.  After a while I started to feel pressure, and then the pressure began to hurt… a lot.  I was breathing through the pain, and it got to a point where I wanted to be checked.  I asked my parents to leave because I wanted privacy.  When they checked me, I was at 9.  One centimeter to go, and things got very intense.  They said that they would be back to check me in an hour, and that wasn’t something that I was ok hearing.  I needed to have this baby, and I needed to have it then.  I started moaning through contractions, then moaning turned to screaming.  They called the anesthesiologist to give me a booster, which didn’t do anything for me.  Poor Lan.  I would tell him to help me, and then tell him not to touch me.  The only thing he found that he could do was to fan me because I was so incredibly hot.  I was pleading with God to perform a miracle and make time go by faster.  I kept repeating “shit, shit, shit”.  Which if you know me, is not in my normal vocabulary.  I also kept saying “I cant do this, I can’t do this.” Lets just say, I was probably scaring every laboring woman on the floor.  I was not graceful, brave, or rational.  I tend to be a more reserved person who doesn’t like to draw attention to myself, however, at this point I could care less.  At one point Lan needed to go to the bathroom, and in between a contraction I said he could go.  Then a contraction hit and I changed my mind.  Poor Lan didn’t end up going to the bathroom until well after Em was born. 

They were asking me a bunch of questions, and I could only answer that I didn’t know.  They asked if it felt like I needed to push… again… I didn't know.  All I knew was that it hurt and I needed it to be over.  They ended up coming back in to check me early.  Perhaps because of all the screaming I was doing, and I was fully dilated and she was way down low.  They said I could start pushing which was music to my ears, because that meant the end was in sight.  They said as they were getting me set up that it usually takes women 1-2 hours to push their babies out.  My response… hell no… this baby is coming out now.  When I finally started pushing, it felt really good. 

After one push they started getting everything ready.  Lan said that with each push her head would come out pretty far, but then go back when the contraction ended.  I would usually do three pushes with each contraction, and my last push was always my best push.  I think if I had a mirror (which was in my birth plan) I would have probably been able to push her out faster.  They kept telling me that I was doing really well, and just a little harder, a little longer.  I think if I knew how close I was, I could have done a little better.  I guess I finally got to a point where her head didn’t go back in after the last push, and they asked if I wanted to feel her head.  I reached down and remember being shocked at how far out she was.  I was expecting her head to barely be poking out, but she was almost all the way out.  I remember being surprised at how squishy her head felt.  They noticed a trace amount of meconium on her, so they said that if she came out screaming, they would put her right on my tummy, and if not, then she would need to be checked out first.  With the next contraction, I was able to get her head out.  The nurses kept saying, her eyes are open, her eyes are open.  Lan told me later that she as actually looking around and turning her head and looked right at Lan.  haha!  When the midwife eased her out, she let out a loud yell, and they put her right on my tummy.  I think I said something really profound at this point like “it’s a real baby”.  Even with her on my tummy, it still hadn’t hit me that this was my baby, and I was now a mom.  I think now, two weeks later, it is finally becoming real :)

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After a few minutes they took her to the other side of the room to weigh her and check her vitals.  While they were doing this, my midwife eased out my placenta and stitched me up.  I had a “small second degree tear”.  I was still in disbelief that I had just had a baby… like a real baby.  After they were done, they brought her over and I was able to snuggle with her skin to skin.  She was (and still is) so tiny.  We spent the next hour snuggling, and I was able to eat some food there in the delivery room.  She was six pounds 14 ounces, and 19 3/4 inches long.


After about an hour, they wheeled us to our recovery room.  On the way Lan got to push a button that played a song through the whole hospital letting everyone know a baby was born. 

The last two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind, but I am enjoying every minute of snuggling this sweet baby.