Thursday, June 27, 2013

Misc. postpartum notes

Oh my goodness.  This calls for a good old list post.
  • Eliah will be 4 weeks old tomorrow.  One month!  I am amazed.
  • I am approx three-quarters of the way through writing his birth story down.  After I'm done, I will start working on posting it here.
  • He has started taking a long afternoon nap.  Hallelujah!  It used to be late morning, but it now coincides perfectly with Jamie's nap and the older boys' quiet time.
  • I am so thankful for that hour of solitude.  Though now it is the only time I am able to take care of any particulars (paperwork, email, blogging, etc.) now that the evening hours are out the window.
  • Yes: the Evening Crabbies have begun.  Isn't 3 weeks a bit early for that??  But the little fella is highly irritable at night and keeps us hopping.
  • The only sure-fire way to snap him out of a crankfest is to put him on the washing machine where his makeshift "changing station" is.  We have watercolors on the wall that my MIL and the boys did a couple of years ago.  That combined with the door frame and the dark, red berry wreath is second heaven to Baby Eliah.  He stares and stares.

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago,
but they are so sweet that I can't resist posting them.
Just for you, Ash ♥

  • I am feeling very good, pretty much back to normal.  My main issue is getting enough water.  My honest-to-goodness goal is two gallons a day.  It seems like an insane amount, but I pay for it if I don't.  I drink water through the night as well, every time Eliah wakes up to nurse I guzzle as much as possible.
  • My other issue is my own fault.  I am so sad about this, because I was almost done bleeding.  BUT.  This week I went into the basement and saw that the dehumidifier bucket was full.  I picked it up and carried it up the stairs and outside to water a plant without pausing to think, though I did notice it was starting to feel uncomfortably heavy a little over halfway through.  Dah.  I am so stupid.  I ripped open whatever healing had happened inside my uterus and started bleeding red blood again.  I bet I put myself an entire week behind.
  • At least my body feels fine, but what a pain.  I have to be careful for even longer now and, worse, I don't have the luxury to just sit and lay around for the next week to speed healing.

 Kimchi ingredients assembled:
pak choi, radish, scallions, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, salt

 The entire bowl, 5.5 lbs of vegetables,
packed into this 3-liter Pickl-It.

 The results after a week-long ferment.
Not quite as pretty, but so, so delicious.
Blaine described the flavor as going up-up-up-up --
It just didn't quit.

On the transition from Three to Four --
  • I've been told by several different people that once you go beyond three children, it is the same-difference.  The stress levels don't go up much after Three.  Though I'm only a month into it, this definitely seems to be the case.  
  • Perhaps it is mostly because I'm used to the level of mania, so adding one more doesn't seem to be much of a deal.  Or perhaps it is because our routine is so entrenched by this point and this little guy is sliding into place so easily.  Perhaps it is my accumulated level of experience.  I'm not sure.  All I know is that it doesn't seem that strange.  It honestly feels rather . . . normal.
  • Though I will say . . . Jamie.  That little rascal.  He's two and a half so I know it is normal, but ay-yi-yi.  He has been exactly what everyone says to me when I'm out in public, that "I have my hands full".  Yes.  I've had to work hard on keeping my patience with him and in some cases I have partially or mostly failed.  He's a stubborn little guy and doesn't bend easily.
  • He's been getting into things like crazy.  On my first day solo, he pooped on the floor in the morning (an accident, but still) and ate all of Truen's green strawberries in the afternoon (not an accident at all).  Later in the week he found a stick of butter on the table and glopped it all over the place under the table. 
  • Tables are his favorite place to hide when he's on the sly or being naughty.  If I see him under a table, I know I'm in trouble.  Add to that his sly, furtive glances and that coy look and the electrical pathways instantly connect.  He knows.  And I know.  That rascal.
  • His other main issue has been getting into a funk for whatever reason (fill in the blank . . . it can be that ridiculous) and having a very hard time coming out of it.  Things usually dissolve into him being nasty and screaming at me until he spends some time strapped into his chair in the bedroom by himself until he is finally ready to be kind and respectful.
  • Oh dear . . . in brighter news, he just learned how to put on his sandals by himself last week and has been working on dressing himself this week.  Perfect timing!  And he's so proud of his little self.

Angelically asleep
He'd have his "papo" all day long if I let him,
but I've kept it confined to resting on the loveseat in the sunroom.
  • Along the same lines of the transition from Three to Four, I've found myself not as stressed as I remember being last time.  I honestly don't mind waking up to nurse several times a night.  I revel in the solitude and silence that time provides.  I love snuggling with him and seeing his sweet face in the half-light. 
  • Nursing the baby throughout the day, carrying him around, sitting and holding him while he bops and bobbles on my chest, etc. isn't as much of a drain on me as it was the first time 'round.  Don't get me wrong: I loved it dearly, but it was a shocking transition to go from autonomous adult to baby-slave.  
  • I must be used to it.  I think I am also reveling in things, knowing that time is fleeting.  My life will be "back to normal" soon enough, I know that.  I have decided to make the choice to take things slow and savor "just life".  Even if it means showering is a rare treat or getting dinner every night is a strain or I don't get to do "what I want to do".
  • Zoinks.  I think I have matured as a mother.  It is a good place to be and even better . . . I know it is only up from here.  
  • Now if only my body would stop aging while my mind and spirit progresses.

 Isn't Diego's zombie outfit hilarious??
He was moaning and hobbling all around, 
totally cracking me up.
  • All the boys are extremely affectionate with Eliah.  At times they will stop what they are doing just to comment on how cute he is and give him a little snuggle.  It warms the cockles of my heart.
  • Diego and Truen are particularly helpful.  I have them sit with the baby when I need to shower or be quick about something.  They run and fetch things for me, or lug heavy items if I need it.  I've had them not just clearing their spot at the table, but clearing the entire table and wiping up their spots.  I've really appreciated their assistance and have tried to make sure they know that.
  • We have one week left of our little homeschool.  After that, I am going to read one chapter a day out of Viking Tales, The Blue Fairy Book, The Burgess Bird Book for Children, and the DK Illustrated Children's Bible in rotation.  I'll plan on four days of reading with Friday as our "flex" day.  Something always comes up, you know.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Yes . . . I am that busy.  No time to write, but take a look at some pictures.  In order of date, starting with a week ago last Sunday.  Baby Eliah is the sweetest most darling little fella.  Totally in love.

 Two weeks old with Mama
In the boys' "Tipi House"

 Two-ish weeks with Jamie
Sunning his wittle diaper rash

 Two-ish weeks with Truby
Waking up from another nap

 Three weeks old with Diego
Dramatic lighting from the storm that blew through
. . . one of my faves.

Snuggling with Dada at three-ish weeks
Another one of my faves . . .
The sweetness.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

And then I made a big batch of kimchi

Saying goodbye to Grandpa and Grandma

So . . . here we are, two weeks postpartum.  Un-un-un-un.  My parents were here the second week and just left this past Friday.  They manhandled the house into submission inside and out, cooked all our meals, enjoyed their grandboy-ohs, and gave me the luxury of rest and the ability to savor my newborn.  Bliss.  I am so thankful for that time.  So thankful.

Blaine's mom came for a few hours in the morning almost every day the first week as well, allowing for a peaceful week of rest and enjoyment for all of us.  Instead of stress and distress (which was my postpartum recovery period with Baby Jamie), we actually enjoyed ourselves.  Blaine was outside with the boys most afternoons, playing badminton or the "throw the ball on the garage roof and catch it in the butterfly net" game.

My focus the past two weeks has been to rest and recuperate.  I've been vigilant about recovery this time, knowing what it is like if I don't guard myself.  So I've been sitting around, doing nothing but admiring my wee one.  I'm not even really reading anything while I'm nursing, something I've always done before.  I'd rather just soak this little fella in.  Time is short.

My gratitude to my parents and my MIL is immense.  Thank you so much!  Thank you for giving me time to heal.  Thank you for enabling me to enjoy and savor these precious first few days and weeks.  Thank you for taking such good care of all of us.  Thank you for loving us.

Physically, I feel "back to normal".  I honestly do.  Two weeks of rest has done me a lot of good.  I am light-years ahead of where I was with my postpartum recovery last time.

I am ready to face "real life" again......

 Pak choi and the cutest little fella ever

 Cilantro and parsley --
Subsequently chopped and frozen in ice cube trays

 A sink full of spinach
(Chopped, blanched, frozen)

This is what I did this morning during Eliah's morning snooze in the rocker.  With Blaine's help!  Don't ever think I did this alone.  Blaine went out before anyone else was up in the lovely morning sun and harvested both spinach beds, the cilantro and parsley, and 10 pak choi for kimchi.  Later in the morning, he washed and picked through it all as I chopped, blanched, and sorted.

The babe slept an extra-long block of time, so when Blaine went out to the garden to paper and straw (after picking scallions, radishes, horseradish, and burdock), I got started on the kimchi.  I completed it in three sessions and ended up with a 3-liter Pickl-It full of kimchi fermenting on the countertop.  I wish I had a picture of it.  It is so pretty!  Drat.  Tomorrow.

While we were working in the kitchen, the boys were working on their new "house".  They finally discovered a magical part in our grove of trees, just to the south of our East Garden.  The ground is covered in violets and lily of the valley, with trees leaning in on all sides that creates a canopy over a circle of space that makes it feel secret and special.  Both Blaine and I have had an affinity for it since we moved in, remembering that burgeoning excitement of hidden spaces and imagination.

It finally clicked for them this year.  Just this weekend!  We are so glad they finally "discovered" it.  They have played back there many other times, but it has never fired the imagination like it did this morning.  Finally.

 The entrance of what they call their "house"
There is a fallen tree, still rooted and growing, on the left

 They laid down straw to mark the trails --
Their idea and they did 100% of the work.  Un-un-un-un.
There was a ready supply, as Blaine was getting straw from the "raccoon barn" 
(due to a mummified raccoon carcass found at one point).

 They also hacked up last year's caveman's club and snake gourds
to make bowls and waterers and "mead horns".
The mead horn idea was inspired by
Viking Tales by Jennie Hall,
a book we are reading for our little homeschool.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The boy is named

::: Eliah Len :::
It took us 5 days, the longest ever.
His name is like a little sunburst in my mind --
I wake up saying it to myself at night, so happy.