Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Learn To Crochet

Before Reuben was born I created an entire beginners guide to crochet. These videos are for the person who does not know either knitting or crochet. If you know how to knit and want to crochet, I wrote a whole different guide that is more helpful, and uses common knitting terms.

So, you want to learn to crochet? Here is the video series on crochet that I did. Start with the first one and take it slow! You will need a crochet hook and worsted weight yarn for these videos. Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may have.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hat Making

Fall is finally here but honestly I haven't had much time to notice. Reuben takes up most of my attention with his growing and as he hit two months recently hes certainly done a lot of it! He is 14 pounds and loving life.

I did manage to finish this hat for a friend of mine in our church small group. I love the color. I hope he likes it! I plan on making each person in my small group a wonderful knit or crochet gift. This one is for Jeremiah!

I also finished some squishy newborn hats to sell downtown. I love them and they are super fun and quick to crochet.

What have you guys been working on?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

After-baby Expectations

I had no idea I had so many unrealistic expectations wrapped around having a child. I've been struggling accepting fully what having a baby means--and also trying to accept joyfully, because bitterness breeds not only resentment, but makes me terribly unhappy as well. And since I'm stuck with myself I'd rather not be in a bad mood all the time.

In no particular order here are some of the expectations I harbor(ed). To be honest I am still struggling with many of these.

I thought naively that my husband would hold the baby the same amount that I hold him. In my head, we would share the responsibility 50/50. Now Brian does hold Reuben, and he loves to hold him. However the ratio is more like 15/85 or 10/90. I hold Reuben a lot. What really made me angry for quite awhile was when my husband would play a video game for an hour or do some other relaxing hobby while I was stuck on the couch with a baby. It took us talking (and some tears) to realize that Brian needs to relax still too. He worked all day, I held a baby all day. We used to come home and both relax together. Now he comes home and sometimes it's been a good day, and sometimes a baby threw up on me and cried all day and wouldn't let me put him down and I just want to throw Reuben at him and escape for an hour. But I can't always do that, because his day could have been equally good or bad. I am the primary caretaker for Reuben right now. It's true he will get older and my husband will take more responsibility but right now Reuben is two months old. And someone has to hold him. That someone is usually me, and yes it feels really unfair sometimes, but that is the way it is.

I thought my husband would start doing chores and helping out around the house. Actually, I need to phase that a different way, because he does help---but only if I ask. I hate asking. I want him to see a need and fill it without needing me to ask or remind him. For some reason it bothers me that I have to point out I need help with the dishes or it might be nice if he was to vaccume the carpet over near the couch since I live on the couch now and usually partake of meals while nursing a small human and there are crumbs everywhere. But Brian wasn't the kind of person who sees mess in the same way I do before we had a baby--so I don't know why I thought he would magically change afterwards.

This next thing is probably the biggest, hardest thing to get over. And I never even thought about it before.

It's physical touch. I am not a touchy feely person. Now there is a small human who basically needs to be in physical contact with me 24/7. And when he is not in contact with me--guess what. My husband is like, OMG! you aren't holding a baby! let me touch you! And I have found myself saying things like "can't I just have 5 minutes alone?!" and "please just can you wait for half a second" and also struggling with feeling overwhelmed by all the touching from Reuben. I love him, I am just used to more physical space. All the touching causes me quite a bit of anxiety, something I am not used to. I mean, my husband's love language is touch. But he worked mon-friday and I was home and had a comfortable amount of alone time, so his over-touchiness when he was home didn't bother me. And it's only over-touchiness to me, to my husband it is just the way he is trying to give and receive love. I feel like such a douche when I tell him to back off, but for my own sanity I have to sometimes.

I also feel like I never have enough time. Something always needs to get done, and there is always a small baby on me that is keeping me from getting it done. I struggled with this for weeks, until I realized I was thinking about it all wrong. I was thinking Reuben was keeping me from doing what I should be doing (cleaning the bathroom, making dinner, putting on clothes for the day, showering...) but I should be thinking of it differently. Reuben is the first priority, and everything else is secondary. When I started reordering my priorities it got a lot better. I try to see everything else as secondary and this helps me not see Reuben as a barrier or a block from me, say, taking a shower for the day. If I get a shower, I tell myself, it will be great. But if all I get done is holding a little baby and making sure he has the best day ever, I still did what I was supposed to do and the day is not a failure.

I promise that I love being a mom. It just is taking some adjustment! And now a little someone is waking from his nap and will need his diaper changed, so I better go. What are some expectations you had before baby?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Elf Baby Hat

I wanted to create a fun hat for my son Reuben, and an elf hat sounded perfect! They are so easy to make. This elf hat uses bulky yarn and a 5.5mm crochet hook. You need less than 100 yards to create this hat, and it will fit a 0-3 month old baby.

DC: double crochet
Magic loop: use the magic loop to start
ch: Chain
st(s): stitch(es)
sl st: slip stitch
HDC: half double crochet


Using the magic loop and a 5.5mm crochet hook, ch 2 and do 4 DC into the loop. Chains do not count as stitches in this pattern. slip stitch into the top of your first DC to join.

R2: ch 2. 4 dc, sl st in to top of first dc (4 sts)
R3: ch 2. 2 dc in first st (increase st) 3 dc, sl st (5 sts)
R4: ch 2. dc all sts. sl st
R5: ch 2. 2 dc in first st (increase st) 4 dc, sl st (6 sts)
R6: ch 2. dc all sts. sl st
R7: ch 2. 2 dc in first st (increase st) 5 dc, sl st (7 sts)
R8: ch 2. dc all sts. sl st
R9: ch 2. 2 dc in first st (increase st) 6 dc, sl st (8 sts)
R10: ch 2, dc all sts. sl st
R11: ch 2, 2 dc in first st (increase st) 7 dc, sl st (9 sts)
R12: ch 2, dc all sts. sl st
R13: ch 2, 2 dc in first st (increase st) 8 dc, sl st (10 sts)
R14: ch 2, dc all sts. sl st
R15: ch 2, 2 dc in each st all the way around, sl st (20 sts)
R16: ch 2.*2 dc in first st, 1 dc* repeat from * around, sl st (30 sts)
R17: ch 2. dc all sts, sl st.

Repeat round 17 four times. you should have a total of 5 rounds of just 30 dc, not counting R16.

R18: ch 1, hdc all sts. sl st, cut yarn and weave in all ends.

Make a poof for the top and place on your squish!

Check me out here on Raverly or here on Youtube!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Flu of Death

This week I fought what I will affectionately call the death flu. It started Thursday night with a mild sore throat and progressed quite rapidly into full blown flu. I had a temperature of 102 degrees and much of friday and Saturday is a hazy fog of my husband bringing me tea and helping me breastfeed.

I was terrified Reuben would get it. I was also completely incapable of taking care of him, so my husband held Reuben basically 24/7 when I wasn't feeding him and praying my antibodies would do their job and keep him safe. It was eye opening for both of us. It's Sunday now and I am in the post nasal drip part of my sickness, complete with with killer cough that kept me up this morning. My hands are so dry because I keep washing them before picking up the baby. But I feel a little less like death and I can stand up without feeling dizzy now, so I think I'm almost out of the woods.

Reuben has not caught this yet, but who knows if he will in the next few days? I hope not. I am sure he would have to be hospitalized because it was bad. And he's only two months old. My husband told me yesterday he kept taking his temperature just to make sure he wasn't getting a fever.

this happened yesterday while I was couch bound watching reruns of Dr Who
Last night Reuben slept for 7 hours, and it was amazing. I slept and I think the sleep really helped me recover. Probably what helped as well was the crock pot chicken noodle soup I made on Thursday when I started to feel ill. I still have a container of it in the fridge.

There is nothing more scary then being sick and being physically unable to hold your kid. I had a sore throat, chills, and a fever, and I was freezing as well. I couldn't take care of Reuben and without my husband I don't know what I would have done. It was a completely humbling experience, and probably just as eye-opening for my husband who had to figure out how to take care of a sick wife and juggle a baby at the same time.

When it was just us two, it was so much easier. I can't imagine what it would have been like if all three of us were sick at the same time. I feel like super mom in the fact that I can actually hold my kid today, although I have to be super careful not to sneeze or cough on him. I really don't want him to get sick.

How are you guys doing? May the death flu pass you by... I never knew having kids would be this much of an adventure.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Shopping Mistake

Yesterday was terrible. I got nothing done, the baby cried, and at the end of the day I cried too.

So today I decided to go shopping. I mean, I was already planning on meeting a girl to buy a woven wrap at 1pm, so I would already be out. Perfect excuse to run by a store before I met her!

The day dawned perfectly. The baby slept in, so I was able to (gasp) eat by myself, shower by myself and even linger a bit over my wardrobe choices all without being cried on, spit up on, or otherwise jugging a small human. I was in great spirits.

post shopping nap with the new wrap
I nursed Rebuen a bit, thought about putting up some laundry, decided not to do any laundry, and headed out the door. Reuben slept all the way to the bank...that was closed for renovations. The only other bank is halfway across town--and he'd already been asleep for 20 minutes. But I had to withdraw money for my meet up, so I turned around and drove all the way there. When I got there, they had no drive though. What kind of bank doesn't have a drive through? I woke up the baby and went inside and retrieved my money. I put the now awake baby back in the car and thought about my shopping trip as I buckled Mr fuss pants into his car seat. Did I mention my car does not have air conditioning and he was already sweaty?

Well, I have the kind of baby that only cries in the car if its not moving. As long as the car is going somewhere, he's happy as a a fish in the sea. But as soon as I stop, it's like the world has ended. The store I wanted to go to was only 10 minutes away. And, it's right by Target--score! I could also pick up that hamper I'd been wanting to buy to put all the toys Reuben has accumulated but can't actually play with yet--because, you know, he's an infant. Seriously, so many toys.

And I'm almost there when I see a line of cars that is not moving. What? Is it a wreck? I am forced to slow to a crawl, coasting. But it's true--all the cars are stopped.

I spent the next 15 minutes in a dead stop with a screaming baby unable to pull over or go anywhere because of roadwork. Roadwork, people.

But I made it to the store. I nursed Reuben and calmed him down (He was fine) before I put him in my ring sling and grabbed my credit card and keys and headed into Maurices. Right as I walked in Reuben spit up all down my shirt and all over my (his?) sling.

I hid in a corner and tried to clean myself. I thought about leaving. But I'd come all this way darn it and I was going to find myself something cute to wear for fall. I had a credit card and a desire to clothe my postpartum body, and no one, not even a happy spitty baby was going to stop me.

So I shopped. I tried things on, twice, each time removing all my clothes and watching a cute baby. I found a few items I liked.

I went to pay.

My credit card was declined.

At that point I was ready to cry.

She tried it twice. It didn't work. Had my husband given me the wrong card? Nope, it had my name on it. It said it was good until a few years from now. What. The. Fudgecicle.

Reuben picked that point to start fussing. I calmly excused myself and asked her to hold my things until tomorrow. I hid in my car nursing my sweaty baby and called my credit card company. They tried to ask me a few questions to authenticate my identity. Of course they were questions I had no clue about because my husband set them up. I told them I would have to call them back after I called my husband.

Calling my husband when he is at work is an adventure in and of itself. He regularly is in meetings  and can't answer and I'm really only supposed to call if it's an emergency. Not being able to purchase two pairs of pants, a sweater and two long sleeve shirts is probably not on his radar for an emergency, but whatever. I was pissed off enough to not care. I called him.

He wasn't in a meeting and he gave me all the information I needed, and then I called my credit cart company back, proved (finally) that I was who I said I was--only to be told that card was old and I'd received a new one awhile ago. Where it is, I don't know. Probably in my husband's wallet, but I am not going to call him again, mostly because if it is in his wallet I am not going to go get it, and if it's not then who knows where it is. He told me it hadn't been activated yet even, so yeah.

I met the girl from facebook to buy my wrap (I used cash, but yeah, I didn't have my debit card or cash to pay for my clothes...that was why I'd taken the credit card!!) and then took myself home where I tore up the house searching for my lost card.

It's now 2 pm, and my sweaty baby is now asleep and also not sweaty anymore, because we are inside. I'm exhausted and tired and my morning is gone. I drug him everywhere today for apparently no reason and just thinking about it makes me want to cry all over again.

That was my morning. How was yours?

I'm still wearing his spit up. Isn't motherhood grand. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I hated pregnancy, & that's okay.

You read all sorts of articles about accepting your birth. I've heard moms talk about how hard it is to come to terms with their c-section when they wanted a vaginal delivery, and many other moms struggle with many other types of birth that did not go as expected. And while these struggles are totally normal and true, I personally do not have issues with Reuben's birth. However, pregnancy? Can we talk about how much I battle within myself to accept my pregnancy?

First there is the guilt. Guilt over not enjoying something I wanted so badly--I mean, we tried for two years to get pregnant and I had 3 miscarriages. This feeling continued to eat away at me until I realized I really only wanted a baby. Pregnancy may be one of the many roadways to achieving this goal, but hating the path doesn't mean you love the finish line any less.

I am also annoyed by the constant reminders of my pregnancy. The crisscross of stretch marks on my belly. The utter devastation of my core ab muscles. I'll forget about it for a little while, until I take a shower or use the bathroom--and there it is. I can't escape, and it gives me night terrors. Literally. I wake up to nurse and realize that I'm not pregnant anymore and the chorus of angels around my bed sing hallelujah and my blood pressure lowers. I mean, everyone told me I would forget birth. And to a certain extent I have. But I can't forget for a second what it was like to be pregnant and how much I despised it. 

The thought of being pregnant again makes me want to run screaming in the opposite direction. Yet I want more kids. How do I merge these two emotions? Can I merge them?

It took me 8 weeks to realize that it is totally and completely okay to hate pregnancy. I mean, I really hated the whole thing. I hated the first six weeks because I was sure my baby was going to die. I hated the next 7 weeks because I couldn't leave my couch from morning sickness. I hated both food and pregnancy in the second trimester because nothing sounded (or smelled) good and my clothes didn't fit. I hated the third trimester because I looked like a whale, everything hurt, and I was hungry all the time. I hated going to the doctor. I gained 50 pounds, and you can imagine how I felt about that. Sex hurt, and I didn't know why. I continued to hate throughout the last four weeks because I was utterly convinced I was going to be pregnant forever.

My hate confused me. Wasn't I supposed to be glowing, or something? Shouldn't I be frolicking through Target buying baby clothes and pricing strollers? Instead I felt like a tired beached whale with cankles and an irresistible urge to scrub my refrigerator.

I don't know if any of you knew, but I suffered with depression during pregnancy. Postpartum depression? Nope, not a speck of that here. But depression with pregnancy? Yes. My doctor and a few friends say this can be normal. My emotions were crazy. I was a mess. I remember in the first part of pregnancy--the I'm-sick-all-the-time part where I lived on my couch and tried not to throw up--crying almost every day when my husband left for work until he returned. He was a welcome distraction from The Hate.

I've finally come to terms with it--hating pregnancy. At first I just tried to ignore it, like the elephant in the room. You know, everyone coos over the baby--but not one person has congratulated me on surviving 9 months of the hell that was pregnancy. But it's true. I survived, and I don't have to pretend I enjoyed one second with it. I hated being pregnant, and I am okay with it.

So what am I trying to say? Mostly that it is okay to feel however you need to feel about being pregnant and to take as long as you need to heal, emotionally and physically. I'm still coming to terms with those 9 months, and not only because I had a baby.