Category Archives: Babies

And He Made It to Age 2…

There are only so many times you want to find yourself staring at a positive pregnancy test in shock.  Frankly, that number would probably be a big fat “zero” for me.  Yet, that’s exactly what I was doing in the late winter of 2009.  A pregnancy test in one hand and a 3 month old in the other…

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

 

At exactly 3:02 PM on December 12, 2009, we welcomed our precious Chase into this world.

 

Overwhelming at times? Yes.  Humbling always? Yes.  Would I have it any other way? No.

Happy Birthday, Chasey-Bear!  We love you!

**Note: Whether it’s an afternoon of being born or playing around the house, his mouth is almost always open and there’s usually [loud] noise coming out of it.**

A Place for Karsten

Lake Geneva, December, 2009

I looked up from my book; “Bob, this says that it’s dedicated to his son, Karsten.  Isn’t that a cool name?  Hey, if we ever have another child and it’s a boy, could we talk about that name?” 

Bob looked at me, and then 2 week old Chase sleeping next to me; an incredulous look on his face …“Sure … uh-huh … uh, we haven’t slept in like, a year and a half … and you’re talking about another?!”

“I know, I know … I’m just saying … it’s a cool name.”

Inspiration and creativity carried my train of thought a step further …

“Hey, Bob …”

[a deep sigh from across the room]

“What?”

“You know what?  We should use your grandfathers’ names too … Karsten Robert Charles … doesn’t that sound amazing?”

“Sure, Love … whatever you say.”

 

I am not a good pregnant person.  I like to be in control and being pregnant means being totally out of control for me.  After being pregnant twice in two years, it had only gotten worse.  After Chase, I fearfully and desperately wanted to be done.   But still, I couldn’t shake our Lake Geneva “conversation” from my mind.  I loved the name “Karsten”, and though I tried, I couldn’t get the idea of another little boy in our family by that name out of my head.  I just couldn’t figure out where to put those feelings or how to deal with them.  We had always talked about four children, but knew that any addition after Chase would be several years away.  … yet, I couldn’t shake it … this place in my heart for a Karsten. 

Lord, what are you preparing me for?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Out on some errands with Bob and the kids, we decided after a week of wondering that we couldn’t wait any longer and so I ran into the nearest drugstore, and then the Starbuck’s next to it.  Who takes a pregnancy test in a Starbuck’s?  Someday; I thought, I’ll think back on this moment and laugh

A few minutes later, I was back with Bob.  Not wanting to share with the children yet, he looked at me, and I nodded back:  Positive.

Winter 2011

I lay in bed too sick and weak to move.  My fever was high; too high for someone with a nine week old fetus.  I no longer wondered why they make a vaccine for influenza.  Then the bleeding started.  Was I really just coming to accept another pregnancy only to have it end?

Lord, help me walk whatever road you have for me …

In the Office, Two Weeks Later …

The doctor looked up from the ultrasound machine, a smile on his face; “There’s a nice, strong heartbeat.”  My baby was alive.

October, 2011

Being weak is humbling.  I don’t like being humble almost as much (if not more) than I don’t like being pregnant.  Yes, I’d made it through the year to a full-term pregnancy, but I was weak.  Always tired, anemic and unable to lift anything of significance due to a bad back, I chafed … I want to be strong, Lord, and instead, I have to depend on others to do my work for me or deal with it not being done at all!   The only way out is through.

Lord, teach me and  prepare me …

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

It’s been almost 48 hrs already.  So tired, I’d gone to the hospital to be checked on Saturday afternoon when my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, and then everything stalled so I was sent home.  …and then again, after waiting several hours through Saturday night and into Sunday morning, labor stalled and again, I was sent home.  I don’t think I’d slept since sometime on Friday, and more than my bodily exhaustion, I was emotionally exhausted.  I was weary from the condescension of the nurses … the “Is this your first baby?” question … the continual and even painful contractions … the thought of something being wrong for all of this going so long and not progressing … and the thought that actual labor (the hard part!) was still ahead. 

That afternoon, I called a friend and as she prayed for me over the phone, I sobbed.  Lord, prepare me for whatever you have for me … I’m so tired, Lord.

I sat on my bed with my copy of “Calm My Anxious Heart”.  If ever I needed reminders of comfort and peace, it was now.  Reading hungrily, the Lord helped me to focus and re-impressed lessons and verses on my heart …in particular, this passage:

I know of no greater simplifier for all of life.  Whatever happens is assigned.  Does the intellect balk at that?  Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong in our lovingly assigned “portion” (“This belongs to it, that does not”)?  Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty?  Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good.  As I accept the given portion other options are canceled.  Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.  A quiet heart is content with what God gives.”

[Elizabeth Elliot on Psalm 16:5]

 

9:00 PM:  “Bob, I think I want to go again.  I don’t know what I’ll do if they discharge me again, but I need to go.  Hey, if they discharge me, can you just deliver the baby at home?  I can’t handle it anymore.”  We laughed at the thought of him delivering the baby.  It felt good. 

Later: The nurse removed her gloves, “Oh Honey, you’re at a 5 or 6 …let’s get you into a room.  You’re going to have this baby tonight.”  Such relief.

Sometime after 10:00 PM:  …waiting on the anesthesiologist, we prayed.  Lord, prepare our hearts for whatever lies ahead.

11:30 PM:  It’s funny how hours feel like minutes at times.  The doctor was there and speaking to me: “Let’s get set up here and in just a few minutes, you won’t be pregnant anymore.”

Peace.  I feel such peace.  You fully supply all my needs.  You restore my weary soul again and again and lead me in your righteousness and peace.  You are my shepherd.  I shall not want.  I will dwell in your house all the days of my life.

12:04 AM, Monday, October 10th:  My arms reached for the warm and moist towel holding the bluish infant.  “Here he is!  He’s beautiful!”  Voices were talking around me.  The nurses arms reached out and began massaging and drying arms and legs as his mouth opened; letting out a first, strong wail.  The breath of life began to spread and he was turning pink as I heard myself repeating “It’s okay, darling, it’s okay.  Mama’s here.” 

Our Portion.  Our Karsten

Lord, prepare us for whatever lies ahead …

 

State of the Cloth (the flagrant epilogue)

If you missed my cloth diaper “State of the Union” last week, you can read it here.

At the time, I thought it would be a great idea to capture a picture of the boys in their cloth diapers now to put alongside their original “cloth babies” photo – which headed last week’s post.  But I ran into a slight hiccup.  (please interpret “slight” however you’d like)

The boys don’t sit still.  Done.  Period.  End of sentence. 

I know they will one day, but they do not now. 

Don’t believe me?  Here are my best attempts (best = no other adults present and no candy bribes) to put them back on the love seat for an updated picture … please, have a little laugh at my expense.  I did.

One “normal”; one blur…

The most “normal” of any picture taken that day.  Oh, and please note the almost total obstruction of the subject (read: the child OR the cloth diaper) by his security blanket. (which -if I have not previously mentioned it- goes by the manly name of “LaLa” … yes, you heard me.)

I’m thinking of titling this composition “Blurs on a Couch“.  It’s either that, or “Flagrant Disobedience to the ‘Don’t Climb on the Back of the Couch’ Rule” … I can’t decide.  Maybe I’ll just go with “The Disobedient Blur” … although, I do so like the use of the word “flagrant” … it suits the boys so well. 

And there you have it … Ewoldt family living at some of it’s most “interesting”. 

Maybe I should have tried a candy bribe … or, super glue and I get to eat the candy.

On the bright side, you know I’m not kidding when I say our cloth diapers hold up.  As you can see, they are “tested” in a “variety” of “scenarios” … no, make that “flagrant scenarios”. 

Now I’m officially done with this topic for a while (diapers, not flagrancy). 

The End.

State Of The Cloth Union

Our one year cloth diaper anniversary occured some time in March; which was when I originally determined to write a post about this.  I thought about it all Spring, actually wrote my first draft in June … and now it’s August.  I’d love to say I was editing it especially for my readers, but I’ve already blog-confessed several times about my procrastinating ways, so I doubt anyone would believe me.

Aw, there are the little guys when we first started … I forgot how cute they used to be!  [mother moment]

Moving on … Here are my thoughts on cloth diapering after surviving it a whole year.

I have found cloth diapering to be intense and not unlike many relationships in life; a commitment that needs to weather the good, the bad, and the disgusting.  (that last word is more about the diapers and less about my relationships, FYI)

The Bum Rap: Many households have “stashes” that they add to over time.  Because my primary reason for getting into cloth was financial [3 children 3 and under in diapers; see also: complete insanity], I haven’t added a thing.  Confession: I’m still using the same 30-35 diapers I was when I started.  Bob and I researched the brands we liked, bought one or two of the top three and in settling on the Bum Genius One Size Pocket diapers, purchased the “Trusty Few”.  They’re still workin’ away.  Anyone want to guess how often I do a load of diapers?

The Equality of Detergents: Frankly, there isn’t an equality of detergents.  Repeat: detergents are not created equal.  To phrase it another way, there are certain kinds you SHOULD NOT USE!  (take it from someone who has mistakenly used most of the ones you should NEVER use).  After some pretty stinky trial and error and trying several all-natural (no “ites” or “ates” included) options, my favorite by far; and the most effective is Shaklee detergent and whitening powder.

Gathering of Information: So much of this process is subjective trial and error … your washer, your diaper brand, your kid’s waste, etc, etc.  I can’t and don’t presume to put myself in your shoes (I kinda like my own…) but two sites I’ve found super helpful are:

www.clothdiaperwhisperer.com

www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com (especially the detergent rating page!!)

In addition to these websites, nothing beats hearing real life stories, so, if you have people around you who are seasoned people of the cloth, sit at their feet and beg them for their wisdom.  Or, you know … do something less dramatic and sit down over coffee.  You know … whatever.

What About The … you know?!: The poop?  Yeah, it’s gross.  There’s no way around it.  It just is.  However, there are some ways to make it easier to handle.  For instance, this (a diaper sprayer): is a mad, crazy, awesome life saver.  There are a lot of accessories you can purchase if you decide to cloth diaper but this is something I would consider a necessity.  You’ll find a lot of wonderful tutorials online for its proper and non-spraying-all-over-your-bathroom usage, so I won’t waste your time with that here.  Haha, waste … get it?  Added bonus: it’s a great conversation starter as bemused house guests emerge from a first trip to your bathroom asking “What is that THING?”

What’s That Smell? :  Once of the biggest things I’ve battled is the “diaper smell” on my BGs even when they’re clean.  Playing with my detergent has helped a lot, as has a few extra rinses when I wash them.  Other than that, I’ve found that nothing beats a little fresh air and sunshine, so line dry your diapers as often as you can.

Energy What?: I’m still trying to figure out the “green angle” to this whole experience.  Yes, I am no longer a mass contributor to landfills, but honestly, there are days and seasons when I feel that the amount of extra spraying out, flushing, washing, and rinsing I do somehow rivals the water capacity of Niagra Falls and I’m left wondering how that is remotely good for the environment.  Ah well … if I ever meet Al Gore, I’ll ask him.

So these are my highlights to date.  There are so many blogs that address much more and in far greater depth, but this is based on what I do and it’s simple.  It needs to be simple for me right now.  I greatly admire those on a grand cloth quest, but I am not one of them.  This is a stage where I need things to be easier, not more involved, and that in and of itself is one great beauty of cloth diapering: it can be as simple or involved as you choose to make it.

Goals: What are my goals for next year?  With the addition of another infant in the Fall, I hope to report that the cloth is still working, that I still have the same diapers, and that I’ve found the perfect overnight insert combo that no longer leaks … EVER.  If I can do that, I just may run for president.

God bless you, and God bless America.

[Sorry, I just couldn’t resist]

Have a cloth diaper question to ask or an experience to share?  Please comment!  I’d love to hear from you.

A Father

I loved my husband first because of his love for my child.  I love him now even more and for so many more reasons, but today, I mention this one.

He laughs with them …

He listens to them …

They rest in his love for them …

He leads, teaches, and guides …

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

My Project Update: the good, the bad, etc

Just to be clear, and very honest, here is what I should have been doing this weekend …

Look at all those clothes just waiting to be folded!  Actually, I believe that wrinkles, whether on your skin or in your clothes are good for your soul and character building.  It’s true.  Also, could you please note the clothes presence in the pac ‘n’ play?  What else do you do when you have a one year old who dumps laundry baskets?

Yes, so I totally ignored the laundry, most likely hurting it’s little feelings for this

Ignore the freak hands and bandaged finger.  I tried to wrangle an ancient drying rack and, well, it won.  By a significant margin.  I will now go hang my head in shame.  Moving on …

Did I mention I love this fabric?  Because I do!

Detail on the strap and boning around the neckline …

And … [drum roll, please] … FINISHED PRODUCT!

It’s a nursing cover!  But, not just any nursing cover … this is the Mercedes of nursing covers.  This thing is posh.  This thing is a tent!  I love it!  And when I’m done using it for nursing, I just may swing it over my shoulder and go fight crime.

Why make it on my fourth child?  First, I’m slow … and second, I’ve fought blankets for the last five years.  I’m done fighting blankets … the size, the smother effect, the too small to be functional issue … all of it!  If I go any further in this train of revolutionary thought, I’ll break into a song from Les Mis, so I’m going to stop.

However, if you’re like me at all and are still searching for that perfect cover up, check out this awesome pattern from Passionate Homemaking!

Seriously … still thinking about using it as a crime fighting cape …

The End.

Swaddling Blanket (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

It is done!  My MDW (Memorial Day Weekend) project is completed!

In other good news, I got back behind the wheel of the sewing machine (wheel? hey, don’t kill the cliche, okay?) for the first time since I helped my mom make matching PJs for me and my American Girl doll when I was 9.  This was BIG.  I don’t sew.

Side note:  This is where my mom and I are complete opposites.  She says that all four of her children’s labors were more easy than setting up her first e-mail account but the woman can whip up vintage Vogue shift dresses over a 48 hr period with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back.  Think I’m kidding?  It’s an impressive sight to behold!  The pattern practically bows down to her.  Anyway, back to me … I’m more with the computer than the sewing machine myself, so, this was epic.

As much as I’d love to “blog announce” that the blanket is perfect and I’m a natural, my finished product is probably closer to a grade school sewing class feel than a start-your-own-etsy-site feel.  But, I feel that I, for one, am stronger for it (cleansing breath of deep and profound maturity).

Haha!  Now for the technical stuff…

First, always read the manual (which I did) … even the trouble-shooting section (which I didn’t), and here’s why …

Hmmm ... Embroidery thread ... now that would have been helpful to know!

Because I ignored [cough], I mean, overlooked this paragraph, I experienced a couple, shall we say “thread malfunctions” that may or may not have involved a seam ripper and a prayers for patience.  It also meant that the regular, non-embroidery thread I was using for my decorative finishing stitch went through cycles of doing this:

 

puckered, warped, and just plain weird

Overall, the finished impression isn’t totally hideous.  Nobody is running in terror.  But, the “decorative stitch” I picked just looks more like my favorite inside-out sweatshirt stitching from high school than I’d like it to.

Second, the original pattern blog didn’t mention this, but I struggled with the different strengths/characteristics/whatever of sewing flannel to cotton.  The flannel was more stretchy than the cotton and I felt like I was fighting it more than I would have liked.  But that’s okay, I’m over it.    And I’m already dreaming about trying another one of these guys in all flannel for my little Fall baby.  :)

Last, Big Plus! Look at the SIZE! Have you ever seen such an awesome swaddling blanket?  I’m thinking that this will be great for covering the carrier and tummy time as well!

Sorry about the shadow-y quality.  This is what happens when you take pictures on your phone’s camera at 10:30 at night.  Learn from me.  Take normal pictures at normal times with normal light, okay?  Thank you.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the animal print is green, teal, orange, brown and yellow on a cream background and the flannel stripe is in the same colors plus a dark navy (which I chose to accentuate with the aforementioned disaster of a decorative stitch).

That pretty much concludes my thoughts on this project.  It was fun, easy, cute (especially if you follow all your sewing machine instructions) and I would definitely keep the pattern/idea on my list to reuse for baby shower gifts, etc.

Did I mention that I was taking pictures of this at 10:30 PM?  I’m not old.  It’s the pregnancy, really.  Anyhow, I need to sign off before my kids wake back up at half past the crack of dawn.

More on our extended weekend later …

Have a great Memorial Day!

PS:  want the blanket pattern?  You’ll find it at Passionate Homemaking – click here.

A Weekend Project

Photo: Passionate Homemaking

Isn’t this beautiful?  I can almost see a little one snuggled into it.  Of course, that could be just me … I seem to have babies on my mind recently.  Not sure why …

I read about this beautiful blanket over at Passionate Homemaking and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.  It looks amazingly simple … the perfect project for somebody like me: the “I-think-I-learned-how-to-sew-a-long-time-ago” seamstress.  Of course, mine won’t be in these rich feminine colors, a moment of silence, please.  …okay, moving on… Mine will also take significantly longer to complete than the couple hours truly needed.  (see also: something about interruptions and small children) 

This will most likely be my Saturday.  What’s on your list today?

Week @ Large

Hey, so, about our week …!  Because I know you’ve all been dying to know …

Right now, we’re spending a lot of time with my little sister who is in town for the week after doing this:

Aw, isn’t she pretty?  Don’t be fooled, she’s also a bratty little sister.   Sidenote: She’s flanked here by the parental units who flew to LA to make sure she did the dirty deed and actually graduated.  And another sidenote [because they’re fun]: that bling she’s wearing is a lei made out of chocolate candies.  I wish I’d graduated from her school.

Care leaves for a summer ministry position tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned on this story.  As I’ve been talking with her, this ministry makes me want to cry because it’s so amazing and I’m looking forward to writing more about it sometime this weekend or next week.

On a pretty major note, we started off the week with a little of this:

Meet “E4” — 4th child and 3rd boy, due in the Fall.  Isn’t he cute?  He has his father’s fuzzy features, don’t you think?  Haha! …ahem.  Anyway…

On an (almost, but not really) equally major note, we’ll be finishing the week with this:

For those of you who might not know this if it slapped you in the face, this is PIZZA.  Chicago-style pizza.  Everything-else-you’ve-ever-eaten-pales-in-comparison pizza.  From Lou Malnati’s.  I think I’m actually drooling a little. [Mike Blackburn, wherever you are, eat your heart out]

We’re also looking forward to the long weekend in which we hope to be doing a little of this:

This is us at a Memorial Day parade …about a hundred years ago.  …which was apparently the last time either of us took a camera to a parade.  Plans to rectify that this weekend … so you all can see how much more mature we are [ha!] and also how many more children we have now [hahaha!].

More from the Ewoldts at large (or the large Ewoldts?) very soon …