Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

welcome, little one

ezra august bandstra
born at home on friday, april 13 at 12:48pm
eight pounds, six ounces
20 1/2 inches long
blonde-ish hair, blue-ish eyes
rosy cheeks and lips
the softest skin ever
very calm demeanor
very much loved

Thursday, April 12, 2012

a place of in-between

so much about this pregnancy has been different than what i've experienced before.  it being a surprise, for instance.  and my not being very focused on this pregnancy, while i care for my other kids.  having more soreness, more complaints.  having a harder time envisioning this little life within me, and what he will bring to our family.  and now--waiting longer than i have before for him to come.  having mysterious signs of labor without labor itself.  trying to be patient, and to accept all of this for what it is.  and even trying to enjoy it, relish it, as the end of something beautiful that i've been lucky enough to experience.

i just read an article that i really appreciated, which speaks to the mystery of this waiting time.  i'm going to copy and paste it below so you can read it too, if you like.

The Last Days of Pregnancy: A Place of In-Between

She’s curled up on the couch, waiting, a ball of baby and emotions. A scrambled pile of books on pregnancy, labor, baby names, breastfeeding…not one more word can be absorbed. The birth supplies are loaded in a laundry basket, ready for action. The freezer is filled with meals, the car seat installed, the camera charged. It’s time to hurry up and wait. Not a comfortable place to be, but wholly necessary.
The last days of pregnancy— sometimes stretching to agonizing weeks—are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world.
Shouldn’t there be a word for this state of being, describing the time and place where mothers linger, waiting to be called forward?
Germans have a word, zwischen, which means between. I’ve co-opted that word for my own obstetrical uses. When I sense the discomfort and tension of late pregnancy in my clients, I suggest that they are now in The Time of Zwischen. The time of in between, where the opening begins. Giving it a name gives it dimension, an experience closer to wonder than endurance.
I tell these beautiful, round, swollen, weepy women to go with it and be okay there. Feel it, think it, don’t push it away. Write it down, sing really loudly when no one else is home, go commune with nature, or crawl into your own mama’s lap so she can rub your head until you feel better. I tell their men to let go of their worry; this is an early sign of labor. I encourage them to sequester themselves if they need space, to go out if they need distraction, to enjoy the last hours of this life-as-they-now-know-it. I try to give them permission to follow the instinctual gravitational pulls that are at work within them, just as real and necessary as labor.
The discomforts of late pregnancy are easy to Google: painful pelvis, squished bladder, swollen ankles, leaky nipples, weight unevenly distributed in a girth that makes scratching an itch at ankle level a feat of flexibility.  “You might find yourself teary and exhausted,” says one website, “but your baby is coming soon!” Cheer up, sweetie, you’re having a baby. More messaging that what is going on is incidental and insignificant.
What we don’t have is reverence or relevance—or even a working understanding of the vulnerability and openness a woman experiences at this time. Our language and culture fails us. This surely explains why many women find this time so complicated and tricky. But whether we recognize it or not, these last days of pregnancy are a distinct biologic and psychological event, essential to the birth of a mother.
We don’t scientifically understand the complex hormones at play that loosen both her hips and her awareness.  In fact, this uncomfortable time of aching is an early form of labor in which a woman begins opening her cervix and her soul. Someday, maybe we will be able to quantify this hormonal advance—the prolactin, oxytocin, cortisol, relaxin. But for now, it is still shrouded in mystery, and we know only how to measure thinning and dilation.
“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”        -Tinkerbell
I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual. To give birth, whether at home in a birth tub with candles and family or in a surgical suite with machines and a neonatal team, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next, to that thin membrane between here and there. To the place where life comes from, to the mystery, in order to reach over to bring forth the child that is hers. The heroic tales of Odysseus are with us, each ordinary day. This round woman is not going into battle, but she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.
We need time and space to prepare for that journey. And somewhere, deep inside us, at a primal level, our cells and hormones and mind and soul know this, and begin the work with or without our awareness.
I call out Zwischen in prenatals as a way of offering comfort and, also, as a way of offering protection. I see how simple it is to exploit and abuse this time. A scheduled induction is seductive, promising a sense of control. Fearful and confused family can trigger a crisis of confidence. We are not a culture that waits for anything, nor are we believers in normal birth; waiting for a baby can feel like insanity. Giving this a name points her toward listening and developing her own intuition. That, in turn, is a powerful training ground for motherhood.
Today, I am waiting for a lovely new mother named Allison to call me, to announce that her Zwischen is ended and labor has begun. I am in my own in between place, waiting. My opportunity to grow and open is a lovely gift she gives me, in choosing me to attend her birth.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

a towel for the baby

so a few nights ago as i was trying to fall asleep, i was mentally tallying all the supplies we'll need for the birth and for the baby.  i had a sudden realization that we don't have a towel for the baby!  and i felt panicked.  no way can this little baby use a huge grown-up towel, right?  that would just be unthinkable.

so yesterday isla and i made a trip to the fabric store and bought some terry cloth fabric.  and today i finished sewing a very wonky, but kind of cute baby towel.  i used the tutorial from here, though as usual i didn't really measure anything.  (hence the wonkiness?)  and i also didn't have enough of one color of bias tape so i used a few.

so now that it's done the baby can come out, right?  or is there something else of dire import that i'm forgetting?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

a collect

O Heavenly Father, in whose hands are the hearts of all your children: Grant us the faith that commits all to you, without question and without reserve; that trusting ourselves wholly to your love and wisdom, we may meet all that life may bring, and death itself at last, with serenity and courage; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

"baby," by isla

we heard the above collect last night at church in the tenebrae service.  it really stuck with me.  i especially appreciate the line: "that trusting ourselves wholly to your love and wisdom, we may meet all that life may bring... with serenity and courage."  what better thing to ask for before entering into the challenge of labor and childbirth?

will you pray this prayer for me too?

Friday, April 06, 2012

dancing isla

isla has been taking a ballet class once a week since last fall, and she LOVES it!  she loves wearing tights and leotards and ballet slippers, she loves learning the positions and french names of things, she loves "shasay-ing" all over the house.  she really seems like a natural little dancer.  

she also likes to look at herself in the big mirrors.
shoulder shrugging
toe pointing

isla has enjoyed ballet even more now that her friend autumn does the class with her.  thanks to christina for all these great pictures.  

and just for fun, here is some more dancing at home in her fancy princess dress.  which she wears all the time, everywhere, not just to tea parties or fancy events.

 and which apparently doesn't make her any less grumpy when i take her picture.

the horse directions

on a recent rainy day noah was in need of a project to do.  i thought of the idea of making a directions booklet to tell how to build some lego creation.  he loved the idea and came up with "the horse directions" totally on his own.  i think it's so cute and funny!  isla enjoys following the directions to make the horse.

here's the whole "work" in a homemade paper box
title page
step one
step two
step three--and you're done!

a little timber frame project

our friend jackson works for the cascade joinery, a cool local company that does traditional timber frame construction.  jackson recently volunteered to head up a "little" timber frame project for a local non-profit, and aaron helped him out last weekend with the erection.  below are some photos aaron took, but you can also read the article that was on the front page of monday's newspaper!

craft area prettyness

for my birthday aaron and the kids got me a spider plant.  aaron knew that i've really wanted more houseplants but am really terrible at keeping them alive.  the plant lady told him that it's nearly impossible to kill a spider plant, and what's more, they are super easy to colonize!  so he made me this beautiful hanging set-up near the southern window in the craft area.  isn't it nice?  he is also in charge of all care for the plants, which i think pretty much means watering once a week.  

he just sort of set one of the little baby spider growths on top of the pot on the right, and it has rooted itself and is growing well!

another thing i really wanted for the craft area was a better light for over the table.  so he made me this beautiful lamp in the aluminum welding class he took last fall.

 it has really thin veneer glued in between the aluminum pieces, and the light shines through so nicely.  he ended up using clear contact paper to help hold the veneer in place, but it started to bubble a little in places and aaron isn't really happy with the result.  he's planning to redo the whole veneer part at some point, but it's lovely anyway.  and so nice and bright right over the table!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

laundry room revamp

this may be getting a little boring, but just to finish up the story here are some pictures of the revamped, bigger and brighter laundry room.

looking west through the windows into the kitchen 
new folding table/storage cabinets
looking south toward the side yard.  new deep freezer!  and big pile of stuff yet to be organized.
looking north.  new big storage shelves, which filled up so fast.


as my due date approaches, i was under the assumption that we would be taking a break from projects for a while.  aaron, however, felt like this is the perfect time to begin the kitchen renovations!  isn't it funny how "nesting" is different for men and women?

anyway, our friends eric and lily were here for a week recently, and made the mistake of offering to help with a big project.  we took them up on their offer (many times over) and they ended up spending a few days demolishing a wall in the kitchen and building a new one.

here are a few not so great pictures of the kitchen before:

and then the wall came down!

eric and lily and a jumble of wires
the wall moving was meant to enlarge the laundry room but was also so we could put in windows to let in some of the ample light that comes from the east but was trapped in the laundry room!

the construction crew with their mess cleaned up

pizza break

new wall frame

these guys are "working" on the outlet installation.  don't worry--the power is off!

new wall with windows!

the windows are just in temporarily--they are missing a few panes and need some paint.
this is likely how things will stay for a bit now.  soon...ish we'll have some trim around the door and windows.  then eventually (in we really don't know how long) aaron will make a built-in bench seat under the windows, a big kitchen table...and some non-plywood cabinets!  the design is still in flux all the time.  we'll just have to see what works.

this is the view facing west now.  everything over here is maybe temporary too.  it is definitely nice to have the stove, sink and dishwasher all in close proximity.  another plan for down the road is to install a plant window where the cabinet is on the wall, so i can see into the side yard while doing dishes and have a space for plants to get a bit of sun!