Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Updates and a Stegosaurus in the works

Hope you all had a good Christmas, we had a pretty good one here! I can honestly say this has been the best year of my life :)

My niece Elizabeth got to go home this week, much earlier than planned. I am very happy to hear that :) My nephew Benji, who is 8 going on 9 talked to me on the phone the other day. He complained they got lots of snow for Christmas but none of it was sticky so he could't make snowmen. I feel for him, I miss snowmen ;) He also asked if Esme was talking and if she could stand up yet. She's only two months old, remember, and I don't think he's ever been around a baby very long before. He is going to be quite disappointed for a while ;) I'm imagining the conversation already: 'Is that all she does? Why doesn't she do more Mom?'

My nephew also wants me to make him a Stegosaurus toy. I'm trying to prototype one out and see what I can get. Somebody else wants me to prototype a giraffe for them and make a PDF pattern out of it. So that will be on my list as well.

The side effects of that shot have worn off, I think... For a week there I was overtired and not interested in eating much. The last few days things have felt much better - I even took a mile or so walk this morning while Mark watched Esme nap.

Note: Esme weighs 10 lbs, 11 oz this morning and is about 21 inches long. I growled at my sister on the phone Christmas Day because she said Esme looked 'too fat' in the picture she got. Babies are supposed to be fat! A skinny baby is an unhealthy baby!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Swingin' Esme

Baby Swing

We got Esme a little swinging chair that she can sit in while we work at our desks. This doesn't count as a Christmas present, unless you factor in that Mark read instructions and put it together ;)

Grandma and Grandpa watched her yesterday while I went to the store to look at all of the baby swings. As usual, she was a little angel for them. I have told them they must have a 'baby sleeping potion' in their house somewhere. She gets really fussy, usually soon after eating, because her tummy hurts. Not much helps at those times except holding her and/or bouncing her, which is tough when we have time-constraints like bank and post office.

I had been rocking her carseat carrier with my foot at those times she was cranky and I really needed to get something done at the computer. That worked pretty well, but when I get up to get a label off the printer or wrap a package she would often start to fuss again. When I have to get up I can set this swing on slow rock (which I think is kind of fast). I have to say this is a really good buy. Esme is nice and secure in it and you can turn the music on or off independent of the motion. I was worried she would be too young for a swing because she can't hold her head up continuously yet. However, this swing is for birth to 25 lbs - and cradles her just like a car seat does.

It also has a little mobile with two brightly colored stuffed creatures that hang from it. I wasn't going to hang the mobile up on the swing at all but when I tried it Esme was 'talking' to the creatures and wiggling all over.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas here

Happy Holidays
to All of You!

We are relaxing, with not much going on in the Ebay shop and not many reasons to go out of the house. We are going to try to avoid the stores all together for this holiday rush - no reason for us to be there and get run over!

Playing EVE a little more. Mark did brave the stores last week to get an accelerated graphics card so I can play on my computer while he plays on his. It is a really detailed game with lots of opportunity for those who like to trade goods (me), create 'inventions' (soon!) and run about shooting up bad guys (Mark). We can even play together in a 'corporation' in the game and use both of our strengths to help the other.

Esme is growing a lot - she is over 10 lbs now (10# 5oz last I checked) and making lots of different noises than she has before. I'm getting better at bathing her, which was one of the more difficult things for me up until I found a good routine. I got a b.c. shot at the doctor last week that will last for 3 months minimum .. and it has been making me quite tired, either that or I'm coming down with something. The tiredness started a few days after the shot so I'm thinking that was it.

I'm also putting more energy into my Knitowl toy shop - as some custom orders have come in (and went out) and I've gotten a few loving reviews about my 'lead free toys'. Cotton cloth with polyester filling and embroidered eyes... yea pretty lead free ;) I've had a few people suggest new patterns to try to make as well.

We're not sure what is going to happen after the first of the year, but right now it is Christmas and we'll wait a week or so before we grind hard on that stone again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A slow KnitOwl

I've been making this pillow doll for a lady in the UK
for her two-year-old. He stands 22 inches and took
me two months to finish, mostly because of the legs (shown)

Last night I finally decided what to do to get it all
under the sewing machine and finished.

I've been putting off making more small toys because of the dilemma with this guy. I feel guilty making new things when old orders are lying dormant on the 'conundrum pile.'

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thank you Jeanne and Chris!

Chris and Jeanne sent a very nice and sneaky gift!

The little lamb toy is a rattle
Esme says: Wow! (ok this is a yawn, but she likes it!)

A STACK of bibs, interesting tea and groovy baby tunes on mixed CDs.

Thank you, both of you! :) Such a wonderful gift!!

Busy week here - dentist today and doctor tomorrow!
Over the weekend Mark found the game EVE Online and has been running little trading missions in his spaceship. It is a very well cosntructed game with a market trading system I'm enjoying tinkering with as well.

I called my brother last night (which is difficult, as he is hearing-impaired) and his wife said Elizabeth is 4 lbs, 5 oz. and they hope to take her home somewhere near the end of January. She should have been born at the end of January, so wow - she was very young and is still very tiny! They give her half of her food by bottle now, but then she gets too tired and they have to give her the rest through a tube. My brother says they get to hold her some now, but she is stil having trouble keeping her heat up for long periods of time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Caturday Games

Before neck-fuzz smooshing

After neck-fuzz smooshing

That's a lot of neck fuzz!
We told her she looked like Jabba the Hut.
DISCLAIMER: No cats were hurt during this photo session. The worst part was we were laughing hysterically at her and she didn't think it was funny. She stalked off to the corner to flop down and stare at us balefully.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Few Developments

We've had a few developments around here, but not much.

Goofy, one of the girl puppies, went to a home.
We hope it is a good one.

Another picture of Esme, looking mischevious
she has begun to make the cutest noises and gurgles
9 lbs, 14.5 oz

We received some more assorted used inventory for our store in, and I'm going through the actions of getting pictures taken, descriptions written etc... I'm also throwing a few random items in my Etsy store every once in a while. We are trying to sell off some scrap metal that has been lying around the yard for years. We've been looking at parcels of land via internet around the areas we were interested in - but nothing to make us jump yet. The main problem is most of the places to rent don't allow smoking or pets, and we don't want to leave any of the dogs behind if we don't have to.

Elizabeth is doing well - and they have moved her up from an eyedropper to a bottle. Wow, to be so tiny you can't drink out of a bottle! Modern medicine really has done a lot to help premature babies who would never have survived before due to problems as simple as getting enough to eat.

We're not planning anything major for Christmas, as this is really our time to start organizing for whatever we are going to do early next year. It will be Esme's first Christmas but I think she is very happy with all of the love and care she gets and wouldn't know what to do with even the wrapping paper ;) She does enjoy looking at colored lights though, and Mark's parents gave him a little red/blue/green LED 'lava lamp' that she has enjoyed staring at several times.

Mark did splurge and got the latest Harry Potter movie 'Order of the Phoenix', which we will probably get to this weekend.

//off to describe modems, adapters and connectors. Have a great weekend!

Esme and her carrier

One of the things we knew we wanted/needed for Esme was a baby carrier, so I could take her around with me while I worked. A lot of things can be done one-handed, but not everything.

Esme in the carrier

Mark's parents gave us this baby 'Snugli' carrier before she was born and I have been using it off and on. There was a point there where Esme's legs didn't fold up nicely underneath her in it anymore and yet she wasn't big enough for her legs to go through the slots. But now she can ride in it more comfortably again and I'm using it to do dishes, laundry, type Ebay listings etc... things I used to do one-handed or while she was in a deep nap.

Daddy took this picture of us on the porch
Esme woke up for a minute then dozed back off.

When she gets a little bigger a carrier like this (instead of in arms) is going to be even more important just because of the weight! Sometimes carrying her around one of my arms goes 'to sleep' and I have to set her down or shift weight and get feeling back into it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


A small piece from my 6 x 9 mixed media card 'Travel' made today.

Other Art I liked today:
Panda bear with balloon by NoosedKitty and
her It could be Bunnies card made me laugh
A new Friend by red clay art
Bliss by Yellena

Cute cat chases fish: Lalou's blog (in French)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baby things & crafts revisited

Rhiannon asked if I'd used any of the cloth diapers I made before Esme was born. I thought this would be a good time to recap the baby things I found most useful, both handmade and store-bought.

First, on the diapers, yes I've used every one that I've made. I wish I had made more than three or four, because I definitely don't have time to make many more ;) We mostly use disposable diapers, but the cloth ones are good to have around in case I'm certain Esme has 'more coming' but also want to get her cleaned up quick. The generic diapers are just as good as all the rest, especially when the baby is young (less quantity more frequently) I use the burp cloths to put under Esme while I'm changing her because they're small, thick and can easily be tossed in the hamper if they get dirty (without the bassinet blankets or Esme's clothing getting dirty).

Out of the handmade things the burp cloths and bassinet quilts get used every single day. The little shoes didn't fit very well because Esme was so big - but I did get some use out of the red pair. Ditto with the blue pants and hats I made - they were all just barely fitting when Esme was born and don't fit her well now.

The star of our store-bought items was the co-sleeper bassinet. It has all those pockets in the side, and is very easy to grab Esme out of during the night and put her back in. I can drag it around the room really easily. I keep diapers in one side, and a wipes container in the other, and can get Esme changed without getting out of bed. The diaper genie we bought was actually a really good buy. It did take a bit of practice to learn to use it correctly. Baby washcloths and receiving blankets are washed at a frightening rate. You can get by on fewer clothes that fit at each stage if you have easy access to a washer and dryer.

I think breastfeeding is much more simple than formula and bottles. The first couple of days were torture before there was any milk, and breast shields are necessary to get anything done. However, when Esme is hungry I can feed her without going through a huge process to go to the kitchen and get something ready for her. We did try to do the whole bottle sterilization thing a few times and save some breastmilk for later feeding - but I found it much more difficult than just taking out the time to feed Esme every few hours (which is possible because we work from home).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Esme and the dog / cat crew


Mrs.Pao: I think Esme really likes and can recognize Spot the Great Dane. I think this is because he actually stops and waits for her to notice him when he is coming to take a look at her - then gives us the biggest clownish grin and 'laughs'. It's the dog equivalent of going 'goo-goo-gaa' at a new baby and making funny faces. He is a very gentle giant, and often asks us for permission before he approaches - which is both sweet and amusing to watch. I'm very grateful he sets a good example for the others.

Esme actually sees him now and I think recognizes him as another 'person.' The other day I was bringing her in the door in her car seat carrier, and Spot came to meet us. He gently sniffed her and Esme made that same happy 'Ah' noise I was talking about earlier, but to the dog, and started to wave her arms.

Esme doesn't know the cats very well -- Pogo keeps wanting to tell me she can sit right next to her and be 'safe' but I'm not ready for that and have told her to hold off. The other day Esme was waving her arms and legs on the bed and Pogo was asleep nearby. I was sitting right there watching them both and Pogo got nudged by a baby foot. She let it happen a few times then very gently nudged back -- but I'm very nervous about even letting her get away with that and tried to tell her Esme was MY baby and she had to not do that.. I'm wondering how to deal with her in such a way that she will play nicely with Esme later and not feel like she has been replaced.

Esme at one month

First off: Happy Birthday Mark! He is very glad to be home and is thinking of writing up a narrative of his trip. There are a few places he was interested enough in to go back to for a more detailed look. He is really happy to be home and 'no longer rolling' constantly.

Esme at one month
9 lbs, 12 oz.

She can grab my necklace, hair and things off the side of the bassinet now, like when I'm changing her diaper and put a blanket or piece of clothing up there for a moment. She can lift her head up for short periods of time while laying tummy-to-tummy but has a harder time on a flat surface. I think she has begun to recognize both us and the dogs and makes little happy 'Ah' noises sometimes when we come into view.

Pogo among the shipping supplies

Pogo continues to be a great help in the shipping department of our little online store.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mark is coming home today!

Some of you were out of the loop, sorry about that -- but I thought it best not to post that Mark had left for his trip until he was on his way back. He is coming home today in a few hours :))

He went over half the midsection of the country - through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. He did a stopover at a family friend's store in Utah to talk about some merchandise and maybe partnering up for some shipping and supplying later on.

He saw the Very Large Array in New Mexico, and the Hoover Dam, and took some pictures.

I hope I have everything ready for him to have a nice hot bath, Southern style tea and a good steak dinner when he gets home, oh -- and a crushing bear hug from me ;)

Heard on the News: I heard something interesting on the radio (NPR) yesterday. Think you've seen more babies this year? (I was surprised to hear my brother's wife was pregnant, but so were they) and Rhiannon is expecting a baby boy, after her sister also had a baby last year. Quote: "For the first time since 1971, the nation’s overall fertility rate rose past the replacement rate, increasing 2 percent in 2006 to 2,101 births per 1,000 women. Women of almost every age had more children last year than the year before, except girls under 15 and women over 45." From this news article

Mark's family's friend Bert had a beautiful thing to say when he heard about Esme: 'You're replenishing the Earth, that is the way it should be.' Those words resonated in me when I looked at Esme today. Someday, she'll have her own baby perhaps. I'm sure my mother thought the same thing when she held me nearly thirty years ago ;)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dentist appointment

I had a dentist appointment today, which meant leaving Esme with Grandpa and Grandma, as Daddy was meeting with an old family friend at his store in another city. I was in a rush just to get to the dentist on time -- and barely did make it.

About ten minutes after I had left Esme with Grandma I was already missing her -- and had to call on them just to hear about her before my appointment. The dentist office staff have been following along on the blog here and there so they already knew about her and I brought pictures for the lady who doesn't have a computer :) It turned out the pictures were kind of for me too, since I was missing Esme I stared at them in the waiting room until everything was ready to go into the dentist's chair.

I was thinking I had a bad cavity on one side - but apparently it was several small cavities that could be sealed before they got deep enough for a filling - so, no novacaine! yay! They did do a thorough cleaning though, and after pregnancy hormones gums bleed a LOT, and boy mine did. So, glad I'm not having a thick lip for the rest of the night and that it wasn't as bad as it felt!

(I do have one other filling they want me to come in for later this month, if we're still here and haven't moved)

This would have been the first time since her second day home Esme would have had a bottle instead of me feeding her. However, she slept almost the entire time at her grandparents -- which was good for them but a product of her keeping me up all night last night. I swear she knows when I'm worried or anxious - she can feel it in my arms, hear it in my voice. She knew I was worried about leaving her, and about getting places on time - so she had a hard time relaxing enough to sleep. Now at home tonight she was fussy after she woke up, but got to eat and is happy again.

In other news: Esme's birth certificate came today - so, does that mean we get to keep her now that she's 'official'? ;) just/kidding! *snuggles Esme tight*

Birth certificates here & now look SO different than mine from Minnesota. I remember the DMV guy here when I changed my license looking all over mine for a number and having to call somebody because it didn't have one. To me, it's weird that this one DOES have a number - and even a barcode. Wow, I find that a bit scary actually!

Monday, December 03, 2007

More on Elizabeth

My mom and the rest of the family got to see the little one in Minnesota this weekend. She is gaining weight - but still can't come home until she is 6 lbs. The nurses have nicknamed her 'Peanut' and she keeps pulling all her wires out, grabbing their fingers when they tend to her and taking off her hat and mittens. She sounds like an active little fighter ;) My brother and SIL haven't gotten to hold her much yet - as she is in that incubator, but I think the way they describe her grabbing at the nurses means she wants some human contact. My mom also said my brother's voice makes her stop in her tracks and look around - she wants to know where that familiar voice, daddy's voice, is coming from.

Esme loves to hear her Daddy's voice as well, and stare at his dark eyebrows and sharp nose. I think she stares harder at him than she does me because his dark hair makes such a contrast. She loves lights too, and will focus on a bright light in the room when she is quiet and happy. As for human contact - besides all of our other mommy and baby time I'm making sure to take a half-hour or an hour here and there (when I can get it) to hold Esme tummy-to-tummy. She watches me for a bit, then curls up like a little frog and goes to sleep very happily.

Esme having 'tummy time' on Daddy last week
She is 1 month old now, and weighs 9 lbs, 7 oz today.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Daddy and Esme

Mark and Esme on Saturday morning