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Surviving November

1. I was one step away from a ped-egg this month (gross). I think from all of the fluid and swelling that this stage of pregnancy has provided my feet have paid the price. The husband has been generous with the foot rubs and the lotion, but I actually saw my heels (and this was the day AFTER a pedicure) and I freaked. In came bliss to the rescue. Bliss makes some of my favorite all-time products. And while their stuff is pricey, it lasts and lasts and is worth every red cent.

Power up your pedi is a gift pack with bliss' peppermint foot patrol and gel activated "softening socks". You're only supposed to don the socks for 20 minutes, but I leave them on until my feet start to tingle. I figure when my feet are looking scary, every second counts. 

2. My husband. What a trooper this guy has been. Seriously. 

I couldn't have survived this long without him. He does dishes, laundry, vacuums, plays with the dog, keeps the fridge stocked and even brings coupons with him to the grocery store. He hugs me when I'm feeling grody and he holds me tight and cheers me on when I think I can't possibly be *this* pregnant for another second. He's generous with the foot rubs and the back rubs, really if it needs rubbing, he's your guy. And generally speaking, he's my best friend. It doesn't hurt that he's also easy on the eyes. Love you stink. Thanks for everything.

3. Lipton Green Tea with Honey. 

Obsessed. All of the sudden I can't drink coffee and I'm obsessed with tea, go figure. Add more honey and guess what? It just gets better. Yum. 

4. Train

My days consist of waking up, eating, doing a household chore, then taking a nap. While I'm doing my chores I listen to my iPod and Train is on constant repeat. We saw them in concert twice this year and it solidified their standing in my heart as my all-time favorite band. There are a few more shows this December near us, but unfortunately they are all sold out. It would make a great story if I could go into labor while being serenaded by Pat Monahan though. It would be even better if he just happened to be singing Mississippi when this all shook down...sigh. 

The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib...

With temperatures dropping,
last Friday was spent preparing the winter stables.

(left click on the pictures to see them larger)

The ox knoweth his owner...
Jersey bull Joe was the first in
he was segregated into Nazareth stable away from the cows.

"Monk and hammer can do all things."
Soviet citizens will understand!

Straw being laid on the sheeps' side of Bethlehem stable.
The far side is for the cows.

The skies are threatening.
The sheep are on their way in for the winter.

Brother Yousef Marie with the first arrivals.

The ass knows its Master's crib.
The donkey to the left is Gloria,
named after the Gloria in excelsis Deo
first sung by the angels on Christmas night.

This one is Benedicta -
named after the Benedictus qui venit of Palm Sunday.

Donkeys and sheep with this year's lambs...
Surely a remote preparation for Christmas.

The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib...
(Isaias Ch. 1)

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan.
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago...

And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice,
and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
(Jn. 10:16)

What can I bring Him poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb...

The lane between the cells last evening.
Heaven cannot hold Him

Nor earth sustain;
Heav'n and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.


Diaper bags. A huge shout out to Steph for letting me know that one of the diaper bags I was looking at was on super sale on Amazon. I managed to score it for $35 (after tax and shipping). It just got here last week and it's adorable. Thanks, you're the best.

Post-partum bleeding. Um, I had no idea. I'd heard that you release lochia at our childbirth classes, but was told that it's no worse than getting your period. I didn't realize it was run down your leg, ruin your life kind of bleeding. Thanks for the warning. 

Slippers. I went with the striped slippers, and took everyone's advice on the cheapie pair for the hospital. And for those who were concerned with my spending habits and my sanity, I normally wouldn't spend that much on slippers, thanks for asking. Earlier this year I ordered a bunch of bras from Nordstrom, the bras got halfway to my house and then were "returned" by the mail system. It took nearly 9 weeks for my order to be fixed and corrected. It wasn't an issue, but to rectify the situation Nordstrom gave me a $100 gift card. Given that I've been knocked up this whole time, I couldn't use the gift card on clothes and I've been afraid to buy shoes because I heard your feet can change size being pregnant too. So I figured I'd reward myself with a nice pair of slippers that I'd normally never buy since I'll be inside most of this winter with the twins. I didn't realize slippers could be such a dichotomous issue. Who knew?

Good friends. Thank you to all of my friends who have called, texted, stopped by, etc. since I've been on bed rest. I really appreciate your friendship and your support. Being home alone all day is no picnic and I appreciate everyone for helping to pass the time. While I'm pretty sure we'll have to replace the cushions on the couch soon, I'm so thankful to still have inside babies.

Thank you. Another quick shout out to Lindsey for the sweet blog award. I definitely didn't do anything to deserve such kindness, but I appreciate your friendship and support!

Comments. Just a short note about blog comments. I keep this blog for myself and to keep in touch with friends who are dispersed around the country/world. As a result of blogging, infertility and now our multiples pregnancy, I've met so many amazing women along the way who have become my friends as well, and I'm so happy to have you as part of my life through this blog and online communities.

I try to stay as positive as possible on the blog because who wants to look back over their life and only remember the low points? Maybe that means my life comes across as easy. I've had my share of struggles, all of which I've shared here. In sharing your life, you make yourself vulnerable and over the last few months I've gotten several anonymous comments that are intentionally hurtful and malicious. So while comments are lovely and I love getting them, I've turned anonymous commenting off. Sorry if that is an issue for anyone.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy thanksgiving. I can't believe 2010 is almost over already!

This or That

After being in L&D this weekend and having to walk to a shared bathroom in my socks (um, gross) I realized I desperately need a pair of slippers for my impending hospital stay. Husband likes one pair, I like the other. I need a tie breaker. Help?

or That?

First Trip to L&D

Yesterday marked my first trip to Labor and Delivery. Let me start by saying, I'm so glad Joe didn't go on his annual fishing trip to Erie at the last minute. I don't know what I would have done if he wasn't home with me.

I started feeling mild cramps around 2 p.m. They felt similar to what I would normally feel before getting my period. By 3:30 the cramping was accompanied by sharp stabbing pains, something that I can only describe as RLP. I haven't had much RLP this pregnancy so I thought that was weird. I tried drinking water and laying on my left side. When the cramping and pain was still happening at 4:30 I called Joe and we agreed it was time to call the OB.

The first thing she asked me is can you describe your contractions. This shocked me because, honestly, I didn't feel like I was contracting at all. I just felt "weird". She told us to head to L&D and told us we could expect a battery of tests (and took time to describe them all) and she also told us that she was ordering an internal exam and a betamethasone series.

We left for the hospital around 5:30 and got to L&D by 6. They immediately hooked me up to a monitor and IV and put fetal heart rate monitors on the twins, which was no easy feat since they were moving around like crazy. Once the monitors were on they started with the registration paperwork which was crazy long (and we had even pre-filled out most of the paperwork at a childbirth class offered by the hospital!).

During the hour it took to register me, I was contracting frequently and heavily. The IV seemed to help slow the contractions down. Note to self: drink more everything. Once the registration paperwork was complete the NMW came and did an internal exam and took samples for an fFN and Group B Strep. I was only a fingertip dilated, which she said was a good sign.

By 8 p.m. my contractions had slowed down and I had no "measurable" pain. It took another hour for the results of the fFN to come in and during that time they just had me rest and a nurse came in to administer a shot of betamethasone, which is a steroid that helps reduce the incidence of respiratory distress in premature newborns by speeding up lung maturation.

Once the results of the fFN came in (negative), they sped up my IV line and gave me discharge instructions. I was still contracting at that time, but the contractions were irregular. This combined with the negative fFN and the limited dilation enabled me to go home.

Even while I was contracting in the hospital and I was watching the contractions happen on the monitor I wasn't "feeling" them. The nurses told me this is common especially with multiples - so much going on in there and a uterus already stretched beyond normal limits, it becomes hard to tell what's what. Apparently contractions are normal as long as they are not accompanied by bleeding, pain or excess fluid and that they are happening with some irregularity.

I go in again tonight for a second shot of betamethasone and I have another OB appointment in the morning to check on my cervix. I wish tomorrow's appointment was a growth ultrasound (that doesn't happen until next week). I would feel a lot more peace of mind if I knew how big the babies were right now.

My last cervical length check was on Monday and it revealed my cervix was shortening and funneling. That news combined with this preterm labor scare has made me so angry with the new OB from our practice. I thought it was important for me to meet with all of the OB's in the practice so I scheduled my 28 week appointment with one of the doctors I hadn't met. When writing out orders for my 30 week appointment she cancelled my cervical length check and ultrasound and told us that there was no medical necessity to continue getting checked with such detail and frequency.

I challenged her advice during the appointment and she made me feel stupid. So I left the office and called again and got the same answer. But I never gave up. I insisted on speaking with my regular OB and I badgered the OB office until they put me through to her. My regular OB immediately changed her partner's orders and scheduled me for another cervical exam at 30 weeks. She is amazing and I am so thankful for her. I trust her inherently and I'm only scheduling appointments with her from now on. She's taken our pregnancy so seriously and I feel like we're in good hands. I just hope when I go into real labor that she's the on-call doctor.

My next goal is getting these babies to 32 weeks, although I'll say that's not much of a goal. Ideally they'll get to 36 without anymore problems. As for me, I'll be on the couch drinking water until then. Wish me luck.

a few gleeful re-runs...

with my folks staying at the shed for the next two weeks i am going to take a little time off. it will be lovely to spend quality time with them, doing what we do best, my mum knitting, my dad reading and moi, crocheting. actually i won't be doing a lot of that, for i have hand stitching that needs to be stitched for the book. whatever we will be doing you can be assured, we will be doing it together, pottling here and pottling there...

before i head off to do some pottling, i wished to share a few 're-runs' of some gleefulness i showed last year. some of you will recall them, and perhaps some of you are new to this neck of the woods and therefore cannot recall because you were in another part of the woods last year. either way, a little bit of repeated glee is okay with me

gleeful repeat #1: my fabby favorite all time cluster of glee. now technically this was a repeat last year, but i can't help myself, i love this little cluster even years after making it, so as long as i am 'a rambling' then i will be 'a repeating' this sweetie

gleeful repeat #2: a little easy peasy gleefully gleey garland easily changed out for felted sweater pieces or knitted pieces. whilst 'a mentioning' felted sweaters, may i be so bold as to say upon my return i will be sharing what i did with a few leftover bits of a cream woolly thrift store sweater. once again it is the easiest peasiest how-to, suited to children and folks like myself who like to squeeze in making gleeful decorations into small pockets of spare time. if that sounds of interest, do be on the lookout for a woolly cream sweater that is crying out to be boiled and then snippity snipped

gleeful repeat #3: a nice little tutorial on a 'whatnot' holiday garland. i was positively delighted with the whatnot garlands dearest readers made after this little how-to last year. it truly warmed my gleeful heart which was most perfect as the shed is known for it chilly ways in the winter months.

gleeful repeat #4: a 'whatnot gleeful' christmas tree... it was a little controversial in the shed last year, but all in all, the clan did admit it was a pretty spiffy tree. for those of you on your handcrafted, secondhand year i am guessing you are already thinking about the tree! Our #4 asked the question in september "are we having that painted dead twig in a bucket again this year?" his voice doing a crappity crap job at masking his concern

gleeful repeat #5: this one you must save until December 1st. for it is a tale of the miracle that came to pass last year at mossy shed. one that will warm your gleeful heart so it matches mine and then we will match with our warmed gleeful hearts which i think is quite nice and matchy and warm.

so there we have it dearest readers, for those that will be celebrating Thanksgiving next week, i wish you the peachiest of holidays. i will be in my shed with my folks and clan, finding myself another year on, once again being most thankful for many things including the life i have and the kindness that you continue to show me here on my shiny place

she is wishing you plenty of gleeful crafting time and will be back on dec 3rd with her felted sweater... counting down, not just to Christmas but to Our #1 returning home for the holidays ~ Tif

Maternity Pictures

Thank you to everyone that encouraged me to go ahead with these. I didn't realize how emotional I'd be over them. I love them so much and I'm so glad I captured this moment in time.

barking cloth mad...

on saturday, i noted to little olive we were close to 40 days until Christmas.
this spurred her into action

i, in turn was spurred into sorting my fabric stash.
what with Lou's pile turning up, closely followed by a fabby swap of bark cloth with the 'ever so lovely' Polly, i needed to make sure all the lovely little bits felt most welcomed...

after spending many quality moments folding each of them,
into the little glass cabinet i cleared out in their honor.
i decided there was nothing for it but to stay in my pajamas all day and play with them.
no clan member appeared to notice i was playing hooky from the usual saturday 'chorey' things,
by tea time i had taken full advantage of being invisible,
notching up a lovely cushion cover for the rocker

and two simple but quite happy slipcovers for two happy stools in the lounge.

previous to my day of 'playing hooky' i had done some 'shuffling' around the shed. the black couch has shuffled through to my studio, giving my folks a nice cozy corner for reading in, away from the main 'hub bub' of the shed.
one of Folly & Glee's lovely vintage shades is at the ready for my dad and his reading material.

on sunday morning, little olive was up early, having a wash and getting warmed up for day 2 of training.
i noted used dog appears to not be bothering with reindeer training this year.

today (and yesterday) i am playing catch up for my day of hooky. toilets need to be cleaned, floors swept, a book written and beds changed, not to mention the excitement of cooking some orange meals in preparation for tomorrow. yes indeedy, hurrah hooray! my folks arrive from across the pond, armed with Cadbury's chocolate and two whole weeks of their peachy company, which i am really, really giddy about...

she will be running 'gleeful re-runs' tomorrow ~ Tif
footynote: a gold sticky star if you spot the pesky gnome in one of the photos! this may require specs or a big magnifying glass :)
footynote #2: actually having just looked at this post, it would require a huge magnifying lens, so if you cannot spot his pesky little gnomeness then here's the 'big picture' to stop you going batty trying to find him :)

A Recommended Calendar

If you wish to purchase a copy in advance
(printing second part of November)
please click the relevant link:


A Little DIY in the Nursery (Just a Little)

Our nursery is only an 11' x 11' space, which seems big, until you try to fit two cribs, a rocker, a glider, a side table, a changing table and another small dresser in there. Then you start to scratch your head and wonder when the room became so small. Here's a rough sketch of the nursery's layout.

Joe's mom generously gave us the rocker she used for him when he was a baby. He was born in Germany (his dad is in the Army) and the rocker was made in Yugoslavia, making it a true antique since the country no longer exists! With two babies, we were glad to have two chairs. Although, I think even with one baby, it's nice for mommies and daddies to be able to sit together in a nursery! 

On a recent trip to Ikea I spotted the little Rast bedside table. For $29, I decided the risk would be worth the reward and took it home with me. You should have seen short little me with a big ole belly trying to get this thing off of a middle shelf in the "self-serve" area of Ikea. Took me nearly 40 minutes to get it down. Not a single person offered to help! Not sure if that's a Jersey thing or a WTF is wrong with people thing, but I digress...

As it turns out, Mr. Rast was the perfect little table/dresser to put next to Joe's rocker. And we ended up with a lot more storage as a result. Win-win. We had some leftover paint from when we redid our baseboards and trim, and we were super lucky because the paint just so happened to be a dead-on match for our crib. Talk about consistency. So Mr. Rast got a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore's Seashell and a top coat of Minwax's Water-Based Poly (which is pretty much the only poly that won't turn your whites into yellows!)

I must say this little $29 find is looking pretty sharp all dressed up and shiny! I wanted to find some fun knobs and happened upon these from Anthro, which I thought would be a fun play off of the fabric I used on the crib skirt. But at $8 a pop (times six knobs) the hardware would have cost more than the dresser itself. 

So I decided to get creative and replicate the knobs on my own. I painted the Rast's original wood knobs in BM Seashell. And today I ordered a sample jar of Serena and Lily's "punch" paint for $6. As soon as it comes in, I'll hand paint punch polka dots on the seashell knobs and then throw a coat of poly over them. 

If you know me, you know I absolutely abhor DIY projects, so hopefully this is as easy as it sounds and it comes out cute. I'd much rather spend $6 than $48. But I've been known to throw around the idea of "what's my time worth" when justifying irrational purchases to the husband. Wish me luck! I hope to have all the furniture in and done this week so I can focus on fun things like art and accessories! 


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