Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

I am so thankful. 

For my husband.

For my children, all eight of them.

The children's apple turkeys - oldest to youngest, left to right

For my extended family.

For my friends, near and far. Those I've met, and those I've yet to meet.

For the fact that I can walk, move my hands, see, hear and talk.

For the fact that we have a safe place to live, enough to eat, and clean water to drink.

For the fact that we are not yet risking imprisonment or death for being Christians.

And most of all, for God who sustains me every minute.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SAINT Porphyrios!!!

This is all over the internet so I'd be surprised if anyone hasn't found out by now, but I just had to join in the excitement! Elder Porphyrios has been canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate!! His new feastday is December 2nd.



Holy Saint Porphyrios pray to God for us!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Miss Moppet and her Nonna


Sometimes I look down in my arms or in the bassinet and see our little girl, and my breath is taken away by the incredibleness of it all. After years of heartache and my body failing my two tiny boys, here she is. Lord have mercy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bunny Baby (c:


5 AM

The baby must be going through a growth spurt. She's nursing and nursing and nursing. I thought she was settled for the night at midnight but wound up staying up with her until two. I read Man on the Moon, thinking about the complexities of lunar geology, and patting her back. Poor thing. It's hard to be a baby sometimes. 

At five I awaken, hearing her whimpers which probably started fairly gently but are now to the more insistent stage. I pull her to me, but she won't latch on. Oh, how tired I am! Please, please, baby... Please let Mama lie down to nurse you. It's dark and I can't see to help her. After a few minutes with her growing steadily more frustrated, I finally give up and sit up. She nurses in peace and I sit cross-legged, my head on my own shoulder. The heat comes on and I realize I'm very thirsty, but too tired to get up and do anything about it.We sit together in the darkness.

Finally she's done and I prop her on my shoulder and rub her back. She's usually a good burper but tonight (or rather, this morning), she can't manage it. She fusses and roots around, trying to eat my night shirt. Still hungry? Sigh. I switch sides and she nurses some more. I notice I'm starting to see outlines of things in the room. It must be getting close to dawn.

I'm hoping she'll nurse herself to sleep so I can lie down and at least catch a nap. She finishes nursing, but alas, is still awake. I burp her (*there* she goes!), change her diaper, and lie down with her next to me. I tuck her in and rest my tired head on the pillow. There is faint light coming around the curtains. She wiggles and wiggles and whimpers and I start to realize she probably has a stomach ache. I rub her tummy. I rub her back. I stroke her head. She starts to cry.

I wearily sit up again, pulling her onto my lap. In a moment the baby won't be the only one crying. I can see her fairly clearly now in the pre-light of dawn. She is quiet now in my arms, looking around the room. I am tired and thirsty and the heat has come on again so I'm feeling overheated. She feels a little hot to me so I uncover her too and she lies in my arms, legs gently kicking. I'm feeling exhausted and sorry for myself.

Suddenly it hits me.

So many nights I would have given anything to be sitting up with a fussy baby. I would have given anything to have to change back-to-back diapers. I would have given anything to be exhausted and sore and overwhelmed. I couldn't cradle Innocent and Andrew in my arms, console their crying, change their diapers and wet-through sleepers. I couldn't sit up all hours of the night nursing them. I had to give them back to God before I had a chance to do anything for them, and instead, lie alone in the night with tears on my face, my empty arms aching.

So, sweet baby, this is not only for you, but for them. For the babies I couldn't take care of in this life. This tired, aching body is both yours, and theirs.

Her eyes are closing. I lie down and snuggle her next to me. Mama loves you, I whisper, and kiss her sweet head.

Friday, November 22, 2013

God's Time

Time is a funny thing.
People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.
Technically, if you average out all of our perceptions of time it does look pretty regular, linear, etc., but since we don't live in averages we are stuck living in our own perceptions. We've all had experiences of "time slowing down" or "time flying by".

Right now, with a new baby, a stubbornly broken body, and all the disturbed sleep and minor hallucinations that go along with them, my perception of time has taken a serious hit. Yesterday Miss Moppet was three weeks old. It was also her due date. Very strange and out of our experience with all of our late babies. She is still very much the newborn but she is certainly growing. I had to put away all of her preemie things a few days ago. She's spending more time awake and checking things out. 

Along with her, I'm waking and sleeping at all times of the day and night. On cloudy days (yesterday and today) I sometimes have no earthly idea what time it is. On Wednesday I thought it was Tuesday. I forgot Thanksgiving is next week. Not being at the Church's services means I am drifting aimlessly around the calendar, unable to remember what feast is next unless I'm actually staring at the physical calendar on the wall of the kitchen. As a naturally orderly person this is very disconcerting.

This time with a new baby is very much "out of time". Babies sleep and eat with no regard to your regular meal or sleeping times. They don't care that you finally got to lie down with a book or that something needs to come out of the oven. They are very ontological beings, living completely in the Now. They have no idea of selfishness or selflessness. They just Are. When you are watching a baby, especially a sleeping one, for any length of time, you are amazingly pulled into this state of theirs, unaware of time passing, unaware of anything except what is right here, right now.


Babies live in "God's Time". 

Miss Moppet and Sleep-Deprived Mommy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yarn Along: Cardigan for Moppet

I realized the other day that all but one of Miss Moppet's sweaters are too big for her still. Considering I had grounded myself from anything strenuous (like walking through the house more than three times a day) I decided the best solution was to knit one. I started this little cardigan on Monday and finished it this morning. I did use a pattern as a jumping-off point, but struck out on my own fairly quickly. You can read all the notes from this project here.








Saturday I had started another project, but considering it's a gift, I can't show more than this little teaser:


I also have tried to get back to working on some little hats for Calvin's Hats. I've done twenty so far. (None of these are embellished yet.)



And now to books. I always forget to take photos of the books I'm reading! Well, there are plenty of other photos up on this post today so you all can deal with it. :) Going along with being in bed a lot has been a lot of reading (read, knit, repeat). This is what I've read in the last few days:

Failure is not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz

Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Apollo Moon Landings by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton

Chariots for Apollo: The NASA History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft to 1969 by Courtney Brooks, James Grimwood and Loyd Swenson, Jr.

Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8 by Robert Zimmerman

Notice a theme? LOL


Monday, November 18, 2013

Patience


I am generally not a patient person. But I must set aside all of my restlessness and just BE.

My physical recovery, while not out of the range of normal, is slow. I had my first baby when I was 24. Now I'm 39. There has been a lot of mileage.

Thinking I was progressing more quickly than I was in actuality, I started resuming usual activities. I did laundry. I went to the grocery store (for a small trip), carrying Miss Moppet on my chest. I cleaned the kitchen.

I didn't feel like I was overdoing it, but then unmistakable signs appeared that I was. Back to bed with me. Even sitting up too long caused regression. I spent most of the weekend in bed. I worked on a birthday present for someone. I made tiny knitted hats. I read multiple books on the history of the American space program.

In the meantime the house started disintegrating. I couldn't walk to the kitchen for something to drink without cringing. It was a major effort to restrict myself to loading and starting the dishwasher and not wash the pots and pans. I had to walk into the boys' room to say goodnight and not give in to the urge to pick up the shoes on the floor (and the 13,489 other things).

I hate nagging so I have kept quiet except for some gentle reminders to "take out the trash" and "bring your dirty clothes to the sorter". Not everyone shares my nit-pickiness for tidying and I have to be patient with that. I'm not used to playing queen bee and dictating what everyone else will do while lying on my couch eating bon-bons (relatively speaking, of course).

For now, my job is primarily to take care of the baby, to remember to drink enough, to rest until I'm healed. As much as I want to go out for long walks, I can't. I can't even take short walks right now. I have to remember I'm only 18 days out from major surgery. Even if some people manage to start jogging after only 10 days (highly inadvisable, by the way), that's not the timeline my body is on.

Patience.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bath time!

Miss Moppet's cord stump finally fell off (yay!) so she got her first "real" bath tonight! I think she tolerated it fairly well.







Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weight Gain and Diaper Pictures

Our little peanut gained half a pound in a week! She's 6 pounds, 8 ounces this morning, 8 ounces up from a week ago and one ounce past her birth weight! Good girl!

Since I'm starting to feel a little more "normal", I'm going to start cloth diapering, at least during the day time to start with. Fortunately, she still fits into her tiny preemie diaper covers, handmade for her by my friend Jillian. I took the opportunity of changing her just now to take a few pictures. (I got more than I bargained for since she wet the first one immediately. I guess that signifies approval? (c; )




(showing one of the cloth diapers I made to fit the covers)





Saturday, November 9, 2013

More Photos




Beautiful Dress

I must take this opportunity to publicly thank Vicki for the absolutely exquisite gown she made Miss Moppet. It arrived in the mail yesterday (but I was feeling too poorly to do more than ooh and ahh and set it aside for this morning). She made it during my pregnancy and spent the time working those beautiful stitches praying for my health and for the baby's. It's a work of art and I appreciate it more than I can say. "Thank you" seems so inadequate.



Look at these beautiful little roses for our own little Rose! (And the buttons on the back are roses too!)


Thank you so much, Vicki! I can't wait for Miss Moppet to wear it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Using those forty days to REST.

 

This is a great article on the need to take the postpartum time to REST.  
I often see or hear of women pushing themselves to return to normal as quickly as possible after birth.  In a hurry to get their life and body back they jump into a myriad of activities at warp speed, often just days after giving birth.  Riding on the birth and baby high, pumped full of adrenaline yet restless from the last few weeks of pregnancy, particularly if they felt like a watched pot, these women fill their schedule, attack their house, and find new projects determined to not be slowed down, impatiently trying to control and master this new version of normal.  These women are often viewed with admiration and awe and the media highlights celebrities that are back to their prepregnant weight by 6 weeks or were spotted out jogging at 3 weeks or were back on the set of their TV show at 10 days.  This is held up as the epitome of a strong woman, give birth, bounce back, conquer world.
After the birth of the author's fifth child, she finally decided to actually put the car keys and the dust pan down and rest. Needless to say, she found it difficult:
The biggest obstacle I encountered in trying to rest?  Not my children, not the house cleaning, not the cooking, not anything I was missing out on.  No, the biggest obstacle was the voice in my head and a tiny handful of other people (including the company that came to “help”) saying I couldn’t let this “keep me down,” I was strong and there was so much to do.  Stupid voices.
Please read the rest. I know a good many postpartum moms right now (there were a lot of us at once!) and we could all heed this advice.

And here is a good article on the need for the "Forty Days" after childbirth, traditional in the Orthodox Church.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church women have a 40-day period following childbirth when they do not attend church. Instead, they are expected to spend those days bonding with their newborn, healing and adjusting to the awesome responsibility of caring for the child. At the end of 40 days, the woman and child are welcomed back into the community through a short set of prayers — called “a churching” — and the baby is baptized.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Yarn Along: The Modeling Begins...

 This is the first Yarn Along that includes the model!! Here is our newest little one wrapped in her seed stitch blanket. It's so stretchy and not too big and has quickly become my favorite!




I got gung-ho on socks the week before delivery and never got finished photos of the last two pairs.

Here are the Teeny Striped Socks, alas, still much too big for her petite feet!


And another pair of "Leftovers" socks, this time in pink mercerized cotton.



Here is the book that kept me company from the night before the c-section on. I've never taken so long to finish a book. Every time I start reading I don't get more than 20 pages or so before I'm asleep!


Next week I hope to have more photos of the baby projects being modeled!



**The link takes you to Ginny's Yarn Along page for today, featuring her son, Sebastian, born yesterday!