Friday, December 19, 2008

Facebook picture links

Thanks to a helpful reader who explained how to do this, here are links to my Facebook albums (in order from oldest to newest):

Also. . .

I've been toying with the idea of moving to a new blog, not changing providers (I, contrary to almost everyone else on the planet, do still like Blogger, even if Google and Blogger together are working towards taking over the world), just a new web address and new name. I'm no longer susaneg (I'm susangk) and I'm no longer an old-fashioned girl (something about being 24, married, with a child disqualifies me). And I feel like my blogging style has changed, my interests have expanded, and my everyday life is vastly different than the original susanegk who posted as "an old-fashioned girl". I feel like I'd feel less like I've outgrown my skin if I just moved, but kept this blog for archives.

No, this doesn't mean I'd post more often, per se, but it does mean the "outgrown skin" writer's block wouldn't be there. So, I'm toying with the idea. But right now the brainblock I have is a blog title. Suggestions appreciated.


Sooooo. . . it's come to my attention that I haven't posted pictures of Hans since approximately forever. Or at least about half of his out-of-the-womb lifetime. He's cute. REALLY cute. And you can't see! Haha!

Okay, not really. But Blogger is such a pain with pictures. It is so much easier to load pictures to Facebook. But I'm not comfortable with adding random people I don't know to my Facebook account (if you do have a reasonable online acquaintance with me, please feel free to send me a friend request, though; if you lurk and I don't know you from Noah, please understand my desire for some privacy :-D). I've set any Facebook pictures I've loaded to be viewable to anyone, not just friends, but I don't know how to link to those or if they're searchable. Any help/advice/enlightenment? Thanks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birth, death, everything in between. . .

Okay, so I realize it's been months since I really posted anything. Such is life. . .

Things are going well here. Hans is growing so fast and is going to be mobile way sooner than I am ready! He can roll over both ways now. One of his favorite things is for Daddy to play airplane with him, or carry him around upside-down. Such a BOY! Hans is getting extremely grabby, as evidenced by his brilliant(?) decision Sunday to grab a steaming bowl of chili. Can you say "blisters"? Poor wittle guy, but he's doing fine. He was 5 months yesterday.

Hans has a new cousin as of a month ago! My brother Ben and his wife Stephanie had their first baby, Madeleine. She is so adorable, and she was teeny - 5 lb. 2 oz. - but is gaining well, it seems. I probably won't get to meet her until spring. *sigh*

My maternal grandmother passed away this past Saturday. She was ready to put aside her earthly struggles, and her death was not unexpected, but she will be missed! She missed meeting Hans (first great-grandchild) by only 11 days, as we are flying to Indiana for Thanksgiving. We will still be able to see lots of other relatives, including my parents and Hannah.

Meanwhile, it's getting far too cold here for my liking. Okay. Fine. It's really not that bad yet. *sigh* Compared to what it will be, at least. But it's interrupting my daily walks with Hans, which is a shame. We'll try to get out on warmer days, mid-day.

Well, that's all for now. Hans has fallen asleep nursing, and I should go put him down and get some sewing done or something :-).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Once upon a time. . .

Once upon a time I started a blog. I had lots to talk about, and a fair amount of time to do the talking. I wrote a LOT. I commented on other blogs a LOT. I made some real, genuine friends through blogging. I even married one of them :-).

Along the way my blogging slowed down because I had the brilliant epiphany that maybe my ramblings weren't quite as important as I used to think they were. The other reason was that my priorities started changing, and my time became more important. I didn't want to miss out on the here and now while blogging about the abstract. And things like courtship, wedding planning, marriage, pregnancy, child-rearing take up a lot of time :-). And that's not a bad thing.

But I really do miss the community of blogging, I miss the camaraderie; I miss expressing my deepest thoughts through the written word. I still lurk on my favorite blogs, but I don't comment a lot, like I used to, nor do I write as much as I used to (and when I do, my posts aren't nearly as involved as they used to be!).

I'm still here. Even if I only show my face once a month or so :-). I'm busy making my 4-month old giggle from my silly faces, reading Sherlock Holmes with my Honey, discussing theology with my fellow local believers, and I'm sewing, cooking, and cleaning. I'm living the life that God has set before me, and I'm loving it :-).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cloth Diapers

***Warning*** This is a long post on a topic that probably does not have wide interest. Feel free to skip, but I've had a number of requests for a post along these lines.

I used disposable diapers with Hans for the first four weeks, while I adjusted to motherhood and recouped from giving birth. Since then I've mainly been using cloth, with an occasional disposable here and there. Now that I'm getting more of an idea of what absorbency I need for cloth, though, I haven't used disposables for almost a month, and I actually get fewer leaks with cloth!

I'm sewing my cloth diaper stash for the most part, with an occasional prefold or bought cover here and there, for variety and ease. My newborn stash consists of a dozen infant Chinese prefolds, 6 fitted diapers, 10 pocket fitted diapers, 2 pocket diapers, and 7 covers. I'm working on my small stash now.

Here is a pocket fitted. "Pocket" meaning it's a stuffable 2-layer diaper, "fitted" meaning it requires a cover and has elastic at the legs to help contain messes. This particular diaper is a sized down Rita's Rump Pocket - printed at 85% to fit a newborn. I recycled a queen size flannel sheet set that I found at a thrift store. The purpose of a pocket-style is to allow customization of absorbency and even more importantly, to allow the main absorbency to be removed for washing and drying, making for cleaner diapers that dry way faster than otherwise.

Here is the Rita's Rump Pocket opened with a suedecloth liner in it, to prevent rashes due to wetness. Suedecloth lining is also good once babies hit the solid food stage and need to have poo removed before laundering. Supposedly poo will fall off suede or microfleece relatively easily - no dunking required.

A note: not all suede is created equal. Alova suede (sold at JoAnn and sometimes Wal-mart) or butter suede (Hancock's) is the stuff that will wick away moisture by letting pee pass through. Fashion suede and microsuede are evil and will repel. Crushed panne velour will also work. Or microfleece. The next size up in diapers that I'm making will be automatically lined with a wicking or "stay-dry" inner, so I don't have to add a liner each time.

And here is the diaper on a really cute baby. I love this flannel print on Hans :-). It's such a "little man" diaper, and the pin is adorable :-).Rita's Rump Pockets close with a single pin, as shown, but most pocket fitteds close with hook and loop or snaps.

Below is a regular fitted, made from recycled t-shirts. It also has a touchtape closure. Velcro is not good enough to withstand substantial use and many washings, so the preferred hook and loop options are either touchtape or aplix, both available online. Alas, I don't have a snap press, but hook and loop is doing fine.

I used the Darling Diapers Unlimited pattern for this fitted. I love that pattern! Great fit, a ton of options, and good directions.

Another thing: serging makes sewing cloth diapers go SO much faster, if you have access to a serger. And I love the way the finished product looks.

The inside of the fitted has an external sewn-on soaker. which basically means it's attached (as opposed to lay-in absorption) but it's not all sewn into the inside, which can take a LONG time to dry!

Here is a diaper cover, also made from the Darling Diaper pattern. Any diaper that is not waterproof will require a cover. This cover is made with polyurethane laminate (PUL for short), the waterproof material of choice for diaper making, and bound with fold-over elastic, aka FOE. FOE is wonderful for containing messes and getting a great fit.

This cover is my favorite so far. I tried gussets and I love the way they fit! This is a nighttime cover for Hans, and it contains blowouts really well, even when he's lying on his side. This is also a Darling Diapers cover.

Here is a cover I didn't make. It's a pull-on nylon cover. This is more like the "plastic pants" of yesteryear, but gentler on baby's legs (softer elastic) and more durable. Baby Best Buy sells 2-packs for only $3.99. These are Dappi brand.

Here are some pictures of pocket diapers, which are by far the easiest to use. These are genuine pockets, meaning they have a waterproof outer, unlike pocket fitteds. These diapers do not require a cover, so they make for really easy changes, especially while out and about. I made these with the Rita's Rump Cover pattern (see sidebar of above Rita's Rump Pocket link).

The first two pics were accidentally taken on the B&W setting. Oops! And look how tiny Hans was! This was almost two months ago.

I stuffed this diaper with two washrags, folded together into thirds. Most of my pockets or pocket fitteds, though, I stuff with a 16"x16" microfiber towel that is folded to fit inside. Microfiber towels can be found in the automotive section of most stores. Microfiber should never touch a baby's skin directly, though, as it will dry it out! It makes great stuffers, though, and holds a lot.

Other equipment I'm using: cloth wipes. This is seriously the easiest thing! If you're already using cloth diapers, washing wipes with the diapers is actually easier than having to separately throw away disposable wipes. It's the easiest $8-10 I save each month. For breastfed poo, all I have to do is moisten them with a spray bottle. I took a bunch of flannel and t-shirt knit scraps and serged 2-layer wipes together, out of odd shapes and sizes. 8"x8" is probably ideal, but I've got all sorts of geometric shapes ;-). I also made 2 diaper pail liners out of PUL, and those just get dumped in the wash with everything else. That way I don't have to scrub out my bucket; I just rinse it really quickly with hot water. And I made 2 small wet bags out of PUL, to keep in the diaper bag, so I have something to keep dirty diapers in while I'm out and about.

Washing with exclusively breastfed poo is easy. No dunking or swishing. Just dump in the washer, along with the PUL bag. Do a cold pre-rinse. Then a hot wash with very little detergent (about 1/4 cap). Then dry on high heat in the dryer.

Okay, that's all for now. I hope someone found that helpful. Sorry it was so long! Pictures made it more exciting, though, right? :-)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Resource Recommendations Requested

I feel so alliterate :-). Anyway. . .

I'm working with the children's ministry in our church to develop a 3-year rotation of lessons for preschool and kindergarten children, that teaches them about the different elements in the worship service. There is an emphasis on Christ-centeredness (so an advent/epiphany lesson that merely states that the wisemen came and brought gifts and had to go back a different way is lacking; much better would be a lesson on Jesus being the true One King whom all other kings bow before), scripture memorization, and other memorization (catechism, creeds, hymns). I need 3 sets of lessons (4 weeks each for advent, 2-4 weeks each for Easter, etc.) for each holiday, to rotate every 3 years, plus lessons on the Apostle's creed, Lord's Prayer, sacraments (from a Reformed perspective), worship in general, confession, pardon, etc. I'm looking for free online resources, and ones from a Reformed perspective would be a definite plus. Suggestions? Anyone?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Yay for slings

2 sling rings (ordered online, specially made for baby slings) + 2 yards knit fabric = happy mama and contented baby.

My favoritest picture so far :-)

He's getting bigger. . . *sniff*

2 days old:

2 weeks old:

I guess all that time he's spent attached to me is paying off ;-).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hans' Birth Story

I'm actually sitting here in bed with the laptop with two hands free. *gasp* Two hands free! Hans just finished eating some and fell promptly asleep, but I don't think he's nearly done with his meal, so I'm just holding onto him right now, letting him rest against my chest until he awakens for course #2. He's proven to be a very good eater and is already back above his birth weight. If only he'd take less than 5-10 minutes to latch on for the majority of feedings. . . but I digress ;-). While I'm sitting here waiting to serve the next course, I thought I'd start typing up Hans' birth story, per request.

As a refresher, for the past month Hans had been flipping between transverse and vertex positions whenever it fancied him to do so, much to the emotional exhaustion of his mother who did NOT want a c-section. 2 1/2 weeks before his due date I started going to a chiropractor who is certified in the Webster technique, and Hans flipped head-down after I did a pelvic tilt, and his position was confirmed by my midwife. But then he flipped transverse again a few days later, and continued to waffle back and forth for the next week. He'd always go head-down after a Webster adjustment and a pelvic tilt, though, so I kept going to the chiropractor every day, per suggestion. This mommy was VERY glad that he finally permanently settled in vertex position a few days before labor commenced.

On Tuesday morning (the 17th, 5 days before his due date) I woke up at 6:30 a.m. with my bag of waters leaking. I already had a midwife appointment that morning, so I just went in as scheduled and had the leaking confirmed. As per procedure, my midwife instructed me to check into the hospital 12 hours later, at 6:30 p.m., so they could monitor Hans' heartrate. Because of the slight risk of infection (since the amniotic sac had been leaking), they would also start me on antibiotics at 18 hours, or just after midnight.

All morning and afternoon I had slight cramping that I totally would have written off as indigestion if I hadn't been super-sensitive to any possible signs of labor. But they were really so mild. Only just before we left for the hospital did they start to even have a defined peak to them, and even then they were so mild. About 20 minutes after leaving, Adrian asked me if I'd been having any more mild contractions since we'd left, and I'd just had 4 sitting right next to him and not even flinched, they were so light.

We checked into labor and delivery at around 6:30 p.m., as we couldn't be admitted to The Birth Place (our choice for delivery) on the same floor until I was in active labor (5 cm). I'd been checked that morning and been almost 4 cm, which amused me since I didn't feel like I was in labor. My midwife and I both didn't think I was in active labor, and we both wanted to minimize internal exams, so we just decided to wait out labor starting and not keep obsessively checking for the magic number 5. I did not want an induction, so we'd been praying all day that I'd go into labor on my own. The only thing I'd done to help encourage labor was take a few walks throughout the day.

About 10:30 p.m. I finally started feeling like I was really in something resembling labor,and the nurse said that I couldn't possibly have been in active labor before then, as I was functioning too normally. The midwife had gone down the hall an hour before to lie down, as I wasn't having strong contractions at the time, but had told me to have the nurse get her when I wanted her. I still wasn't convinced I was really in active labor, and I wanted to wait to get her as long as possible, so I was really in labor and could be moved to The Birth Place. I was given antibiotics at 12:30 a.m. (ugh, rotten burning feeling in the arm) and was quite uncomfortable by that time. Finally at 1:30 a.m. I told Adrian to please get Jessica, the midwife, because surely I was in active labor with contractions so close together and so intense, and I really wanted the tub at The Birth Place. She came in and checked me, and I was at 8 cm! No wonder the contractions were one on top of another by then ;-).

So we finally got to move to The Birth Place, and I just got in that tub as quickly as possible. Calling a birth tub a "midwife's epidural" is a bit strong of a description, because it doesn't take away the pain, but wow, I felt so much better after getting in the tub, mainly because I wasn't so uncomfortable with every position, and wanting to change positions constantly. The water held me up and equalized the pressure quite nicely. Also, as soon as I got in the tub my urge to faint (which I'd been having with every contraction for an hour or more) was completely gone.

At one point my body was pushing with every contraction, without my aid. I told the midwife this, and she said that was fine and not to fight it. She asked me if I wanted to stay in the tub for delivery, and at that point there was no way I was going to voluntarily leave the relative "comfort" of the tub ;-); prior to labor, I'd been about 50-50 as to whether I wanted to deliver in the tub. Jessica very nicely didn't even suggest checking me again, as it was really obvious I was fully dilated, and she told me I could push when I was ready. Delivery really didn't take that long, though it was no picnic either ;-), and Hans was born at 2:57 a.m. I was never so glad to have something over with!

The main things I took away from the experience:
I totally see why women get epidurals. Duh. Especially when most labors (especially first-time labors) are so much longer than mine. I had a remarkably short and easy labor, and it was still plenty uncomfortable enough at times so that a c-section sounded like a good idea.

Water births are wonderful options. Period.

Practicing relaxation exercises for birth does help (yay for Bradley). During most of labor I felt like I was not able to relax with each contraction, but apparently I was, as the midwife said she could see me physically relax each time. If I hadn't practiced that a lot, it would NOT have happened.

I made it through *a* natural birth. I would like to make it through 11 more, but I'll take each one as it comes, and one natural birth does not a natural birther make.

And yes, I do still want 12 kids. Because I know half of you wanted to ask that.

The Bradley method was very helpful, but is not what got me through birth. The midwife and nurse tell me they were quite impressed with how well I handled labor and delivery, but in all honesty, I did NOT feel strong at all in the midst of it. The one thing that got me through was God's grace and strength, I'm quite convinced. I was telling Adrian later that a passage from The Hiding Place came to mind. It's a passage where Corrie's father explains to her that God gives us the strength to endure tough times, giving it to us right when we need it, not before, not after:

…that night as he stepped through the door I burst into tears..”I need you!” I sobbed. “You can’t die! You can’t!”…
Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam- when do I give you your ticket?”
I sniffed a few times, considering this. “Why, just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need- just in time.”

On the night of Hans' birth, with each contraction peak, I felt like God was handing me a ticket. Only one, just for that contraction. No more, no less.

It was worth it :-). *snuggles up to little Hans*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008