Monday, December 1, 2008

Another wonderful surprise in the mail

Look what arrived in the mail for us today - such a beautiful little outfit for Owen from the talented Lily. A gorgeous set of handmade pants and appliqued onesie with the cutest robots on lovely linen fabric. Here is our chunky little lad modeling it.

A perfect fit (and some room for his stubby little legs to grow!) Thanks so much Lily, it made our day!

Thomas and I made baby cupcakes this afternoon, and a lot disappeared into his mouth in the process of icing them. It was good to spend some one on one time with him while Owen slept. Thomas is still being very good about the total upheaval of his little world, although sometimes he can be too enthusiastic in his appreciation of Owen, so we have to keep a close eye on their interaction.
I am still in that hazy baby-bubble time of constant breastfeeding and sleep deprivation, with Owen insatiably hungry and waking for a feed at least every two hours through the night. He often takes an hour to feed, then naps for an hour or less (often sleeping on me on the couch because I don't have the energy to persevere with settling him back in the cot) before it starts all over again. We have resorted to topping him up with the occasional bottle of formula to try and lengthen the sleeps, and so that Warren can share the load. I feel guilty about it, because I know exclusive breast feeding is best, and it is not like he is fading away (just check out those cheeks!), but it does seem to help him sleep, which is all that matters at 4am when things can feel pretty desperate and lonely. I know we went through all this with Thomas, and am looking forward to it settling down into some kind of reasonable routine soon. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Then there were two

The first three weeks have just flown by with the two boys keeping us all very busy. Thomas is still being very good and wants to do everything with Owen. I think they will be great playmates when Owen gets bigger.

This has been the first week when I've been home alone with the boys now that Warren is back at work and my parents have gone back to Sydney. Thomas is still going to childcare three days a week, so those days are quite calm, and it has been good to have a chance to get to bond a bit more with Owen. Having the two of them together on the other days is pretty hectic - I'm hoping that they might fall into a routine of sleeping at the same time, but that may be wishful thinking!

Owen has just woken again, so I think that is the end of blogging for the evening.

Back soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The most beautiful present

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this - I was just so thrilled to recieve this gorgeous vest for Owen from the wonderful Aimee at Mamie Knits Bits.

It is so beautifully made, and the yarn is incredibly soft - I wish I could wear it! I love the card too, and all the love and care that went into knitting this - we will really treasure it.

Owen seemed to enjoy modelling it, which is amazing as he usually hates getting dressed. It is a little roomy on him now of course, but will be just perfect as the weather gets cooler.

Thanks so much Ames, you're the best!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Introducing Owen

Our little one Owen arrived on 29th October at 4.45pm, weighing 3.985kgs or 8 pounds 13 ounces. It wasn't possible to proceed with an induction, so he was born by caesarian section, but it was a very different experience from Thomas as Owen was able to have a cuddle with me straight away and was breastfeeding an hour later, which was just wonderful.

Thomas loves his new baby brother and is very proud. We have just got home from the hospital. Lots more to say very soon. The most absolutely gorgeous present from Aimee has just arrived and I can't wait to show everyone, but need to get some sleep now!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Only two days to go!

We have been scheduled for an induction this Wednesday morning, at 38 weeks. It has all happened pretty suddenly, but the obstetrician is worried about the increasing risk of another abruption. So Wednesday it is! I think there is quite a strong chance it may end up as a caesarian again, as they can only induce if my body is getting ready, and they may have difficulty monitoring the bub's heartbeat, which is still irregular, but we'll just have to see how it goes. I am excited and anxious (well terrified actually!) not knowing what to expect, but so looking forward to meeting our next little one. It would be wonderful if labor started naturally in the next day or so, but all the wise mums I meet keep telling me that I look like I'm still 'carrying very high' so I think it is unlikely.

I am worried about how Thomas will cope with me being away in hospital - I've never had a night apart from him since he came home, and he is quite clingy at the moment, but Warren and my dad will be here to spoil him, and will bring him in every day. Sadly my mum will still be overseas, but will be back about a week after the bub arrives. We have been trying to prepare Thomas for the arrival of his little sibling, but it is hard to know how much he is taking in. He has been talking a lot about the baby, and showing interest in all the nesting I've been doing, getting those tiny baby clothes washed and ready.

We have had a nice weekend giving him lots of attention, and went to the airport open day today, where he got to sit in a small plane, and walk around big planes, and watch an aerial display by an F11 hornet. He was very good about putting in earplugs because it was so noisy, and has been talking about the air show all afternoon.
I like this photo - Warren looks like he has a pregnancy belly in sympathy. Of course he is really as fit and lean as ever, while I am eating enough chocolate for all of us!
Fingers crossed my next post will be all about the happy arrival.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday Thomas!

We had a little birthday party for Thomas at a local park on the weekend. My mum and dad came from Sydney which made it very special, and we had some of his little friends from mother's group.

We didn't manage to get much of a video, but these few seconds are very cute.

Here is the cake - it was a bit dodgy, but Thomas was thrilled with it, which was very gratifying.

His present from us was a toy oven, as he loves the ones at childcare. Warren and my dad did a fabulous job of assembling it, many hours in the garage, but he has been playing with it ever since. I'm hoping we have a little chef in the making.

We also made some cupcakes to share with his friends at childcare - I think Thomas will start expecting cakes and singing every day now!

Finally just a shot from floriade, which is always a lovely event in Canberra. Here is Thomas with some of his little friends.

On the pregnancy front, we had another scan this week and the heartbeat is still a bit irregular. The baby is getting very big, they estimate already 3.5kgs, but I've heard that they can get this wrong, so am trying not to get too alarmed. The doctors are recommending an early induction though, probably at 37 weeks, which is only a couple of weeks away - of course we are still nowhere near ready! I've got another appointment next week, so hopefully we will know more then.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A close call

We had a scary day yesterday - it started out normally, with a home visit from my lovely midwife. Everything was normal until we got to the doppler ultrasound of the heartbeat, which was very unusual, out of rhythm - a strange irregular three beat sound rather than the normal two beats I'd heard so many times before.

The midwife still wasn't too worried, but suggested that I go into the hospital to have it checked out, so Thomas and I drove in there, and we went into one of the delivery suites to be strapped up to the heart monitor. From there things got scary very quickly, the baby's heartbeat was reading as being very slow, something called brachycardia, and the registrar came in and suddenly I was being prepared for an emergency caesar. This was awfully familiar, as it was also week 34 when I had the caesar with Thomas after an abruption, so I knew all the routine of putting in canulas and drips, the gown and strange socks and signing the consent forms etc.

Poor Thomas had no idea what was going on but was extremely good, and just played quietly while all this was happening until Warren arrived.

Anyway, just when we thought it was all happening, they decided to confirm the problem with the more sophisticated ultrasound in the fetal medicine unit, which showed that the baby's heartbeat was arrhythmic but not as slow as it was reading upstairs. All very confusing to me. So all of a sudden everyone relaxed, and said we could go home, just come back for a scan next week.

Very strange indeed to come so close to another emergency premmie delivery, being treated like an invalid, and then to be getting dressed and driving home again minutes later! Of course we were hugely relieved not to be having the baby early, knowing how stressful it is to have a baby struggling in those early days in the NICU.

So now we're back home, just keeping an anxious eye on those foetal movements, but hoping everything will get back to normal and it will go to term.

So back to life as usual - it is Thomas' second birthday this weekend, so I am now madly planning a bananas in pyjamas cake, food and decorations. Hoping for some more good weather - it has been lovely here lately. Here is Thomas at the animal nursery at Floriade - we got there late in the afternoon and had it almost all to ourselves.

Thanks for the very helpful comments about the courses, I'm still pondering, but will have to make a decision before the end of October.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lots of thinking, not much else!

Another unintended blogging break. Sorry I have been out of touch - the pregnancy is going pretty well (33 weeks now I think), baby is exceptionally active, but I have been getting bad back pain every evening which has slowed me down, I think because I have become so enormous in every dimension - no cute designer bump here!

My only creative activity lately has been slowly working on my knitted asymetric vest, which is coming along, but still has 3 balls left to go. I've still got a few more weeks at work, and have been a bit frantic trying to tie up many many loose ends there.

The impending arrival has brought on lots of thinking about the future, and what I will do when my maternity leave finishes. My contract at the uni comes to an end pretty much at the same time. I am really, really longing to do something more creative as a career rather than just in my spare time (which there won't be much of at all, once bub 2 arrives). I've always wanted to go back to art school and study art or graphic design. I wish I'd paid more attention to my misgivings which surfaced fairly early in law school, but instead I went on to finish an honours degree, and just kept going after that.

Financially, and with two little ones, it won't be an option to study full time, so I've been researching part time and correspondence courses. Unfortunately the options are pretty limited in Canberra. Now I'm tossing up between a graphic design degree program by distance education through Charles Sturt Uni which would take 6 years part time (help - I'll be 40!) or a commercial correspondence course in desktop publishing (using InDesign) which is only 6 months but is not accredited. Hard decisions to make - perhaps it is crazy to be thinking of taking on something like this right now, but having another baby has made me feel like if I don't do something soon, it might never happen.

Meanwhile, Thomas is becoming more of a little person every day, and constantly delights me - learning new words and concepts all the time. He talks a lot about himself in the third person now, which is quite funny. His favourite phrase is 'Tommy do it' (often followed by 'oh, bit hard, mummy do it?') and he tells himself to 'try again' or says 'good boy Thomas!' We have been telling him about the baby in my tummy, and the other day he was asking about it and said 'baby - mummy pouch - kangaroo?' It must be very confusing for him!

Here he is at a little friend's birthday party, sporting a birthday cake moustache and his new very short first haircut. I think it will look better in a few weeks! His 2nd birthday is coming up in early October, and he is very interested in cakes and candles - I think he will love it this time around.

And here he is with the most beautiful hand knitted jumper and hat which arrived in the post from my mum.

That's all from me, off to lie down again and think some more - hope everyone is well in blogland.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dabbling with dyes

Yesterday Warren looked after Thomas to give me a whole day off to go to the craft and quilt fair - what bliss! So wonderful to be able to browse and learn and absorb the creativity without trying to keep a little one happy.

I went to workshops on all sorts of random things, like making circles in patchwork, stained glass applique, dyeing lace and even picture framing. I also saw the beautiful Canberra quilts exhibition which is always really inspiring - sadly I'd forgotten my camera. There was a spectacular quilt there with an incredibly intricate persian pattern that had taken something like 17,000 hours to finish, and was a true masterpiece - wish I'd had a photo of that one.

I did make a completely unintended and indulgently extravagant purchase of some Noro silk garden yarn to make a shawl/vest after wandering into one workshop on knitwear, where an very elegant older woman was modeling the most gorgeous handknitted garments. I'm not quite sure about my colour choice, it seems to have more mustardy yellow in the blend now that I've got it home, but I'm sure it will be lovely anyway.

I had been thinking about doing some yarn dyeing experiments for a while, as I can never seem to find colours I like (apart from the beautiful expensive hand dyes), so inspired by all this creativity and the various kool-aid dyeing tutorials on the web, I also had a quick go today at dyeing some yarn just with ordinary food colouring and vinegar, as food colour is really the active ingredient in kool aid, and easier to blend this way.

I started with some jars half full of water and a splash of vinegar, then added a few drops of Queen brand food colours, mixing some together. I had the small packet of four colours, plus a rose pink. I also had some old ivory/brown coloured wilton colour. The yarn is a cream merino crepe from Lincraft (100% wool).

I plonked a mini skein of yarn in each one, covered with glad wrap (don't forget this step or you will have dye all over the microwave - trust me!) and then in the microwave for 2 mins off, two minutes on until the dye was absorbed -two zaps each with two jars in at a time.

You can see how the water goes clear once the dye is absorbed. Then you gently rinse in hot water (avoiding shocking the yarn with a sudden change of temperature) then wash in wool wash. I was surprised how little dye came out at this stage - the colour is very colour fast.

Here are the final colours. Pretty bright and garish, but they could be a lot more subtle with less dye (or more wool) and some more judicious blending. You can see on the pink shades how more or less of the same colour comes out very differently. The candy pink was just one drop, and the darker cherry red/pink was a few drops.

The next thing I'd like to try is some variegated blends. Some of these actually have some nice mottling, because I didn't soak the wool beforehand for very long - I like this look.

So there you go, all done in about half an hour - and lots of fun!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Not happy mummy

Poor Thomas is having a rough time with a bad cold, a fever that comes and goes and all his molars coming through at once. We went with Warren to the snow again on the weekend, just for a change of scene, and stayed with some wonderful friends, but Thomas wasn't well enough to venture out, so we just cuddled up on the couch most of the day watching his dvds. I can now recite all the adventures of Maisy and Bananas in pyjamas by heart (a very useful skill, I'm sure you'd agree).

He has been rejecting his bottle because it seems to hurt his mouth and it has been an anxious struggle getting fluids into him, but the doctor is not too worried, and I hope he might finally be on the mend.

The snow has been great after a slow start, and Warren has been making the most of it, doing lots of cross country racing.

We drove back through a snow shower, and stopped so I could take this photo looking back.

This was a pine tree I spotted while we were filling up with petrol on the way home, I love all the twisty intertwined branches, it reminded me of a Japanese stencil design.

Craft wise I am still plotting quilts, but waiting on an elusive delivery of back-ordered fabric (the downside of my online shopping addiction) before I can really get started. In the meantime I've finally taught myself to crochet in the round, and have been experimenting with flowers and granny squares using leftover yarns. I'm excited to have mastered the technique, but my early attempts at colour combinations have been surprisingly and disappointingly hideous, so I won't inflict them on you yet.

Spending long days at home with Thomas I have been doing lots of thinking about getting my craft space more organised, and generally freshening up our living area, which has been the same dark colours for years and is starting to get me down. I have lots of ideas but not a lot of energy and no money to splash around, but I think it would lift my mood just to start in a small way, perhaps just clearing up the endless clutter here.

Hope you are all having a better week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Winter is here

Sorry for the unintended blogging break, winter has arrived here and the time has just slipped away.

We took Thomas to the snow last weekend and tried out his new European style sled, a lovely Christmas present from my uncle. Thomas was hard to miss in his charming 8o's ski suit, which we bought in a community sale. He loved the sled of course.

Warren and I loved it too. It is the closest to downhill thrills I am going to get this winter - I've decided that skiing is just a bit too risky in my whale-like state.

I have been spending most of Thomas' nap times working lately, and have not had time for any crafting, but I have been doing a lot of daydreaming about quilting, and did find some time to research some online fabric sites. It seems easy to justify the occasional purchase when the exchange rate is so favourable and prices are about a quarter of the cost of fabrics in our local shops. My favourites so far have been Hancocks at Paducah, for their range and specials, QuiltHome for a great variety of older Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler fabrics hard to find elsewhere, and their design board which allows you to play with colour combinations, and Quilters warehouse, for $1.99 fat quarters.

My problem with quilting is that my ambitions and ideas tend to outstrip my patience for actually cutting piecing it all together, let alone the binding and quilting parts. I already have so many projects in mind, like a batik kaleidoscope quilt, a wonky log cabin wallhanging, cot quilts for friends babies and something with appliqued butterflies. I think I'd better get started while the enthusiasm lasts!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

First school photos

Well, not school really, but these are Thomas' first official photos from childcare.

I think we'll have to order copies for the Grandparents.

And here is a slightly less formal photo taken this morning in his jammies, when he decided that he wanted to walk in Daddy's shoes.

Nothing else to show I'm afraid, it has been very busy at work, and Thomas has been teething (finally getting some molars) so we haven't been getting much sleep. So hard to get up in the middle of the night when it is freezing - I guess I'd better get used to it again! Still, I'm glad its the weekend, and nice and sunny, and I've sent my last book chapter off to the reviewers for work, so I can relax for a little while.

We had our 20 week scan, and all is very well with sprog no 2. I found out the sex of the bub, but am sworn to absolute secrecy because Warren doesn't want to know yet. I have a feeling this will be a very hard secret to keep, I'm already bursting to tell him, but will have to restrain myself. I'm now feeling lots of kicking and moving around, which is a very lovely part of pregnancy, and makes it feel much more real.

I'm getting very interested in quilting again but will have to finish off the long standing work in progress (oh dear that was over a year ago!) before I can justify buying any more fabric. Perhaps we could just have a little browse at the fabric shop this weekend though!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This little piggy...

... is finally finished! After a long search I found the joints and snapped him together so he has moveable arms and legs. I have to confess there was some (ok lots of) swearing involved at certain points, they were much trickier than I thought to put in, trying to snap them together through two layers of knitting.

This means that he can sit down when he gets a bit tired. He has very odd little bowed legs, and his top looks like it has shrunk in the wash, but does have a certain rakish charm.

The back view with his tail poking through a hole in the pants.

He is from a pattern in this women's weekly craft book - I recommend it if you can find it, as it has a lot of nice things, even though the knitting patterns assume a fair amount of competence, and took a bit of figuring out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sun, sea, kangaroos and carrots

We had a lovely time on holidays at the Gold Coast. The weather was perfect, warm but not too hot, and just right for sandcastles and paddling.

It was so nice just to put on a summer dress again and enjoy the last of the warm days. I am feeling fantastic now that the nausea of the first trimester is all over. It is great just waking up without feeling sick, and I'm grateful for it every day. I think this is week 17, but I keep losing track. I just know that I am already the size of a house.

We avoided the big theme parks, but went to Currumbin nature sanctuary which was wonderful, Thomas had a fabulous time riding on the little train, and seeing koalas, Tassie devils, wombats and lots of birds. We even got to pat and feed a mother kangaroo and her little joeys.

We had a few days in Sydney staying with my parents and, catching up with some friends and relatives. Our friend Lamorna has a great veggie garden, and Thomas was amazed to see that carrots really grow in the ground.

Here he is in a very cute jumper my mum knitted for him. Check out those pom poms!

I have been busy knitting one of the three little pigs, but have had trouble finding the plastic joints required by the pattern, so it might take a while to get it finished. At the moment it is a dismembered piggy body in a plastic bag, not quite worthy of a photo!

Now I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home, sorting out all our chaos, and perhaps some fireworks (I still can't believe Canberra still lets us set these off ourselves!). Happy long weekend everyone!