Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Red Twist Maternity Dress

Ok, not all my knitting projects need their own blog post, I don't think. But this one is an exception! I fell in love with this pattern, by Helen Hamann, out of "Expectant Little Knits" long before I knew Jacob was on the way. I just had to have it, so I ordered the same wool the sample was knitted out of in the book, from , and thought about starting on it right away. But other projects got in the way. Anyways, then we found out we were expecting this new little one. I wanted to bump this project up to high priority, but I was a little nervous to do so, in case we lost the baby. So I didn't start on it til I was over 13 weeks along. It seemed like it would go fairly quick n easy anyways, and the sumptuous alpaca yarn and the many rows of relaxing, simple stockinette made it a very enjoyable knit, and so I had high hopes to have it done in time for Christmas wearing. I took it along on a quick, one day trip to Calgary, hoping to score lots of knitting time that way-only to run into a snag with the pattern about an hour into the trip (and of course I hadn't brought another project along either-phooey!). It wasn't so much that the pattern wasn't clear, as that I was constantly 2nd guessing it-my problem here was I wasn't sure if the designer really wanted me to work the stitches I'd put on waste yarn, in the short rows on the Right Front section. Even after consultation with a knowledgeable lady at my LYS, and with the editor of the book, who kindly wrote me back on Ravelry, I was still confused. I ended up actually getting to have a conversation with the pattern designer herself! Anyways, it turns out that, yup, I did need to work a few of the stitches that were in the waste yarn row. So, that hurdle jumped, I continued on. I didn't expect to have trouble working the short rows either, having done lots using the Sheepy pants pattern . However, the method for those didn't seem to work that well with this pattern, so I had to do a little internet searching- (BTW-the short row tutorial I found most helpful for this project was from Knitting Rose's blog ). The next place I ran into difficulty was picking up the stitches for the underarm. I ended up deciding to pick up half of the stitches one way, and half the other way, for that was the only sense I could make of the directions. Not sure if I'm right about that or not though....

I never was able to get 116 stitches that the pattern said I should have though-I only was able to get 106. Still, the sleeve length worked out alright, so I guess it wasn't as major as I worried about at the time. Then came working the cuff BO!! That was frustration embodied!! I didn't get the part where, on Row 1, the designer was insinuating I TURN THE WORK after performing the directions stated. After starting, trying, and frogging multiple times, I finally went searching for help! Luckily, some wonderful knitters on Ravelry were able to figure this out quite quickly, and once I followed their advice, I ended up with very nicely finished cuffs. I'm so grateful for all the smart knitters on Ravelry!! Now I know I could've been a rebel, and just BO the cuffs normally-but this designer is brilliant and I really wanted to see it turn out like she had designed. So I was thrilled with the help from fellow Ravelers!!

The skirt, while very easy and enjoyable to knit, took a LONG TIME to do-much longer than I thought it would!! Finally, the pleats that needed to be stitched in gave me fits-I couldn't find much about sewing pleats in knitting at all on the net. I finally just bit the bullet, did a back and forth kind of stitch on the pleats, and secured them. I'm still not completely happy with the job I did on one shoulder with the pleats (but I think that's balanced out by me being thrilled by the job I did on the other side-LOL!). I just quit overthinking the pattern and followed the directions the designer gave for doing the pleats-and they turned out all right. I wish she would have included pix of the pleating process, as it would have given me less stress-but really, her directions were fine if I could just bring myself to completely trust that she knew what she was doing (ya think?LOL!) and just do what the pattern said.

The easiest part (but the one that looked hardest to begin with!) was doing the "twist" that makes up the front of this dress. That was a really simple matter, made more clearer to me b/c of my practice sewing the Jalie Twist top patterns.

All these places where I had to stop and ponder what to do next cost me time on knitting this dress-I had to put it in "time out" several times, b/c I was getting too frustrated with it!!

All this to say-I have FINALLY finished the dress (but nope, it's not blocked!) and, thanks to baby being a bit late, I was even able to get a few shots of a baby bump in it!! I do really like the dress, and am glad I went through all the stress to get it done-but darn, I wish I had my whole pregnancy to enjoy it!! Especially as the Yarn Harlot's theory about how babies don't come til after a major project get's finished played out just like that in this case-I barely finished the dress, and had the baby in the wee hours of the folllowing morning!!!

Anyways, here's a couple pix of me in my Little Red Twist Top Maternity Dress:

(photos kindly taken by Leroy, who said I looked great in it-probably a wise move for a man living with a rather hormonal, emotional woman, who is pregnant with a baby who is not ready to arrive just yet, even though I was expecting him/her to do so a week earlier....)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Can't Post....

Sorry-Can't post.

Too busy soaking up newborn-ness.....

Little toes....

Baby yawns....

New big brother......

Be back soon!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Baby's (Finally!) Here!!!

Well, when this lil one decided to finally come into the world, they decided not to waste time doing it!! LOL!!!

I'm thrilled to annnounce that baby #4 is another sweet little boy, bringing our total to 3 lil boys and 1 (outnumbered, but not outdone!) lil girl!!!

He's Here!!!

Jacob Arthur Ulmer arrived in this world via a beautiful waterbirth at 3:39 am May 18th, 2009!! Weighing 6lbs, 13 oz, and measuring nearly 20" long.

He looks just like Jesse and Tabitha did at birth! A teeny, dark lil mouse!

He's nursing like a champ, and I'm just enjoying him soo much! The kids are all pretty thrilled too! Well-I think Jesse wanted to send him back at first-when I called Mom to tell her the news, she put Jesse on the phone, and I told him it was a boy. Jesse said "but I wanted a girl baby, Mom! How come its a boy?" Mom said it kind of sounded like Jesse wanted to send him back, LOL!!

Wyatt isn't jealous, (yet) like I thought he'd be-he just wants to spend all day "hoding" the baby, and doing everything Mommy is doing to the baby (like nursing and changing diapers!)

So-his (Fast!) birth story, for those that like them (like me! LOL!) is below! For anyone squeamish, maybe stop reading here. Or at least consider yourself warned!

I had talked to Mom earlier in the day, around supper time, and she had volunteered to take the kids on Monday so we could go visit Grandma Ulmer in the hospital. I told her, so long as we didn't have the baby that nite, that that sounded good. She said "oh-are you having pains?" I replied "well, a few" but by that time, I'd dealt with so many braxton hicks, I wasn't going to read anything into it. Leroy and I went out at about 9:30 to deal with the aforementioned goat and her newborn kids, and then came in the house, watched the end of Desperate Housewives, and then Leroy went to sleep. I'd been having more contractions, but still determined not to read anything into it, I tried to sleep, then tried a warm bath. The bath seemed to slow them, so I went to lay down again. I was just relaxing, when, simultaneously, I had another ouchie contraction, and Wyatt started fussing some more (he'd been sleeping rather restlessly, which is totally out of character for him). I loudly asked Leroy to take care of Wyatt, that I was having a contraction-but not even a motion or sigh from Leroy's direction. So I finished dealing with the contraction, picked up Wyatt, and cuddled him for a bit, told him he might have a baby brother or sister born that night, and then layed him back down. He went back to sleep softly muttering "bwother, bwother". I can't help but wonder if he knew!!

I thought about waking Leroy up, but thought if it was true labour, he was going to have a long enough night, so chose not to.

I kept going back and forth on whether this was true labour or not-I thought if I could just get a chance to rest a little, maybe the contractions would change and I could tell. But then the thought occurred to me that it might really be labour, and that maybe I should (gulp!) finish packing my hospital bag! (LOL-ya think?!) So I did that, while also timing contractions using an internet stopwatch I found (couldn't find another one in the house!). After a monster contraction, I decided to phone my sister and talk it over with her at least. I was a little reluctant-I didn't want to wake everyone up and find out it wasn't the real deal! But I did, and I'm so lucky to have a sister like her! She eagerly said she would get ready and come! I then realized I should call the hospital, and felt a little dumb for not doing that before waking up Sister!! But they told me to come on in, they'd get a room ready for me. My estimate of the contractions at that time (about 1:00 in the am) was that they were about 8-10 min apart, lasting around a minute in length. I then called my Mom, and was shocked to have her answer the phone on the 2nd ring, sounding quite alert! She said I hadn't woken her up, she was already awake!!! I wonder if she had a feeling? Anyways, she came right over to watch the kids, and we left the van keys so she could take the kids later if she wanted. In the meantime, I woke Leroy up (with great difficulty!!) and went on a hunt for the pants I wanted to wear! LOL! After another hard contraction, I told Leroy we'd better hurry a little faster (Mom was there by that point). We left, though not before Leroy tried to (purposely, I'm convinced, LOL!) forget the bucket for the placenta! He did also go back for the video camera though, which I was very glad for! By this time, the contractions were monster ones, interspersed by shorter, lighter ones. We got to the hospital, and got their last room! (YIKES!!) Sister said "wouldn't you have been mad if they were all full?" Oh yeah!! LOL! Sister arrived just shortly after we got there-perfect timing! The nurse ran a strip, the midwife in training checked me-and there was a bulging bag of waters she said-then she got the midwife on duty to confirm what she suspected-I was already at 10 cm and ready to go!! I got into the tub, where Leroy sat at the front, and I held (crushed) his hand, and Sister kindly splashed water on me, rubbed all the right places on my back (I don't know how she knows, but it was awesome!) and chatted in between contractions. I was so glad for their support-it may not seem like much, but it just put me soo much more at ease, and freed me to focus on the birth-it was awesome!!

We discussed names a little bit-I had thought we'd have more time in labour to discuss that-Leroy and I still hadn't agreed on a boy's name.

I fretted a little, b/c the water took the edge off my contractions so much, I was worried it would slow everything down. Everyone was so great, reassuring me that it was fine, baby could come at any time. The sweet nurse we had attending sweetly asked if I would please tell them before I started pushing? I guess I was being so quiet, they didn't know what was happening! I was just focusing on talking to body and baby "open up, open up, baby come down, baby come down". I assured her I would! Shortly after that, I felt my water breaking. It wasn't like with Wyatt, where I felt the bag of waters travel, and emerge with a POP! They broke higher up, and it felt like I was uncontrollably wetting myself. I kept waiting for the "throw up" urge of pushing to come-but it really didn't. Instead, I just gradually pushed baby, til I felt him crowning. He felt different coming out, but I didn't know why. Turns out he had a hand up, coming out alongside his head!! He also had a loop of cord around his neck!

The midwife kept saying "him" and I said " is it a him?" She replied "They're all "hims" til I find out differently!" Well, I reached around just then and felt, and, sure enough, he was a "him" this time! I was pretty shocked-I'd been so sure it was a girl I was carrying!! Then we were moving him (and me!) around, so I could hold him-there was some concern at first, as he was quite grey and limp. Instead of panicking and cutting the cord though, the midwife rubbed him briskly, and got the blood from the placenta pumping back into him. He revived quickly, with a lovely cry! Sister got to cut the cord-Leroy didn't want to. Funny guy! Shortly after we got out of the tub, and I got to nurse my sweet new little guy skin to skin. There was NO tearing for me, not even "road rash" as the midwives call it-LOL! It was just such a beautiful, non stressful birth-just soo wonderful!! I think it's so terrific, for both mothers and babies, for births to go this way!!!

We all marveled at how much like Jesse (and therefore Tabitha, them having been so alike at birth!!) that the baby looked. Wyatt had looked so different!! We guessed at weights-I guessed his weight exactly!!!

Leroy and I discussed names again, now that we knew it was a boy. He (jokingly, I hope!) suggested George, and I completely nixed it! (although May 18th is George Strait's birthday!!) I suggested Jacob, and he liked it. I like biblical names, and Sister said she liked the "J" names. Anyways, it just seemed right. Later in the morning we added Leroy's grandfather's middle name, Arthur. And that, as they say, was that.

Sister got to go home shortly after, and even get some sleep!! I was so glad she was able (and wanted!) to be there for his birth, just as the others!! Then we got to snuggle the baby as a new family unit, and take a nap.

Daddy and Jacob catch some z's and get in some snuggling time too!!

We left the hospital around 10 that morning, although baby gave us quite a scare first! He just started turning red and choking-turns out he was born so quick, he still had a lot of mucous left in him, and that was what he was choking on. There was luckily a nurse in the hallway right then, and she helped get the mucous out and explained to us what happened-I'd never experienced it before, and it was pretty scary!

When we came home, we were in for a surprise! Mom had cleaned our entire house!! It was just such a refreshing feeling to come into a tidy, orderly place!! She stayed up ALL NIGHT doing this!! Then watched the kids throughout the day for us too!! I'm thinking she had to be even more tired than me at the end of it!! It was just such an awesome surprise and gift though, and I'm really enjoying it alot!! Then she also brought over a yummy chicken dinner for supper that night!! Thanks Mom!

Tabitha got to meet her little brother, then went to sleep over at her cousins for the night, to give Mommy a bit of a break. It was pretty crazy, with all the kids clamouring to hold their new baby brother! They all seem pretty enthused about him!

Jesse loves his new baby brother-pics of the other sibs loving on baby to come!!

Anyways, I'm sad the pregnancy is over, though glad at the same time, b/c I was feeling so tired, and heavy and cranky-but I'll still miss the feelings of baby kicking and wiggling-just the wonderment of it all!! But I'm enjoying this teeny, sweet lil bit of life snuggled in my arms right now-so much! I love the new baby smell, and the feel of him, and his soft, dark head of hair! I wish there was a way to store these first few days up in my memory forever and ever!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Nope, not human babies! LOL!! Even though s/he moves enough for two, I'm pretty certain there's just one in my tummy! Nope, this double play is brought to you courtesy of my new goat, Star, who was due on the same day I was! Two good sized boer looking boys. She had them with no trouble, and they were already clean by the time I discovered them! Now we're just waiting on a couple equine babies, a few bovine babies, and one stubborn lil human baby!! Maybe this changing weather will be just what we need.........

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day!!

Ok-so this post is a week late. So, ironically, is our baby (almost!!) Mother's Day was terrific this year! Not only 'cause of the new baby on it's way, any day now, or b/c of the cool gift I got (see previous Minivan post!) but also just 'cause the weather was wonderful, and I spent it with family. We spent the day at my Mom's, and ate "Monsters" as Jesse calls them (lobsters).

Halfway thru the day, Leroy phoned to tell me that "one of (my) cows in the field had calved. He wasn't sure which one. Either that, or one of the Canadian mares had had a calf this year, as the calf was trying to nurse off the mare!" I came home quick to help him sort it out. Turns out that my Brown Swiss milk cow "Gabi"'s daughter "Taffy" had calved-a sweet little red heifer. But Wonder, our super quirky Canadian mare, had, once again, decided that the calf should be hers, and was chasing Taffy away from her own baby!! Even when Leroy grabbed the baby to bring it to the barn, Wonder went after him in an attempt to "protect" it! LOL! Anyways, we got the calf in the barn, and reunited it with her mother, who seemed relieved to be rid of the annoying, crazy mare, and I went back to Mom's.

Taffy's lil girl

Grandma Bailey baked homemade bread in Don's woodstove in the summer house, just like in olden days! LOL! It was so much fun, and so yummy!!

(photo of Wyatt and "monster" courtesy of my sister! Thanks Sis!)

Wyatt really enjoyed playing with the lobsters, but wasn't so sure when he saw his cousin eating them-he gave him a shocked look like "you meanie!!" However, it didn't take him long to discover how good lobster tastes! : )

Anyways, it was a super enjoyable day! I hope everyone else had as nice a Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Minivan Mom

Pictured Above: Myself and my Mother's Day gift this year.....
My first Minivan!!
I've always been more of a pickup truck kinda girl, but as our family keeps growing, and growing, and growing! We found we were needing more room. I'd long since switched to driving a car, but my wonderful Chrysler Dynasty, a gift from my Grandparents, though it was still darn reliable, and can fit 6 people, and (that even with 3 carseats in the back!) was getting a lil squishy! So last Saturday, the day before Mother's Day, Leroy and I went van shopping-and came home with this 1999 Ford Windstar (yes, my husband is a Ford man! LOL!) But actually, other than the Chevy Venture that I fell in love with (because it could seat 8 rather than the 7 that the Windstar seats) I'm finding I'm pretty impressed with the Windstar myself! It's got LOTS of room in the back (this was a must-I'm prone to bringing home things like goats and I needed enough cargo space that the kids didn't have to hold them on their laps). The kids are begging to go for van rides-even when we don't have places to go-LOL!! (Ok, maybe we need lives...). But really, I think they are truly enjoying the extra room-and I'm loving not hearing "he/she's (insert annoying gesture here) me" from the backseat constantly!
And it's passed the goat test already-I just brought home a large, nubian doe, who is due to kid anytime now-and she fit perfectly in the cargo space (which Jesse thinks makes a nice place for naptime!).
It's fun to drive, although I'm a little nervous to find out how it does on fuel yet, not having used it quite enough to go through a tank!
All in all-it was a terrific Mother's Day gift!! (Hubby's happy-he got it covered good this year! :) )
And I am now officially a Minivan driving, soccer Mom!
Who woulda thunk?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Toothless grin....

Nope-not baby grins yet!!

My firstborn lost his first tooth today-sob!! These kids sure know how to get you when you're already emotional! I can remember when he was getting that tiny sliver of pearl in his little gums, and now there's a big gaping hole in his grin!

He has insisted for about a week now that he had a loose tooth, but I really couldn't tell, and, as one of his soccer teammates just lost a tooth, I just thought he was wishing out loud.

We were visiting his Great Grandma Ulmer today (otherwise known to my children as Grandma and Grandpa of no hills, to differentiate from Grandma and Grandpa Ulmer ON the hill!!) and Jesse was playing with his tooth. I was occupied with Wyatt. Suddenly, Grandma said "that sure surprised you, didn't it?" I looked up, puzzled. Jesse exclaimed "I lost my tooth!" Sure enough, he was holding a sliver of a tooth out to me (they look soo teeny and innocuous when out, don't they?) Grandma said it was sooo funny-he was standing in front of her, messing with his mouth, and suddenly, he had the biggest look of shock on his face ever!! Wish I hadn't missed that expression!!

She put his tooth in an envelope so I wouldn't lose it, and made sure to give me two loonies for the toothfairy to leave for him!

Pretty exciting, though it's making me feel all teary and weepy at the same time!!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Not Yet.....

Me at 37 weeks, 5 days. I sewed this top from Jalie's Twist Top pattern, after being inspired by Emilie's posts of her pregnancy and the tops she sewed-I LOVE Jalie's patterns-SOOO easy and quick and fun-their pattern support is top notch too, AND they're Canadian!

I keep meaning to post, but time is flying by so fast, and there's so much to do-always. Yeah, yeah, I know not much of an excuse, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!!

I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has gone by-things have been really uneventful with the pregnancy, which is very good-now if only life would quit smackin' me upside the head, I'd be happy! So many stressful things keep happening, and I'm having a really hard time dealing with them right now-I just really, really want the whole world to get lost and just let me take care of, and enjoy, my family and this new little one on the way. I really, really do. If anyone knows of a huge, virtual "DO NOT DISTURB" sign I can hang on my forehead, and my life in general, please point me in it's direction. While you're at it, if you know of a cleaning fairy, send her my way too-my house is a complete disaster zone, and you may have to dig me out of an avalanche of baby clothes....I'm so not good at decluttering those, though when I was going thru them this weekend, I was sorely tempted to toss everything and start over! LOL!
Don't even get me started on needing to pack my hospital bag!! Not even close!! And I still need to get some depends underwear, so we're not grabbing them on the way to the hospital, like with Tabitha (and I'm sorry dear readers if that is TMI for some of you-but they really are awesome for right after baby's arrival-one of the neatest tips I've ever learned from the wonderful, caring and clever midwives I get to see!)

I'm so not ready to have this baby-usually by this stage of pregnancy I'm impatient and can't wait-but I'm so not ready. I just want to sit and feel this lil one squirm and kick and figure out how to remember these days forever-everything about it-like sweet little Wyatt kissing my tummy (and baby kicking back!) and Jesse asking when exactly baby is going to arrive, and Tabitha rubbing my tummy and saying "baby really likes that!" (esp when baby responds with a foot showing kind of kick!)-who knows if I'll have any more, and I so don't want to miss a second of pregnancy-it's like a really cool opportunity to help God with a miracle and it's so special. Don't get me wrong, I'm really starting to ponder what this new lil one will look like, who s/he will be (and I'm truly excited to find out if it's a girl or boy!!) If anyone cares to post a guess in the comments, on gender and date of arrival, that would be fun!

I promised in my last post some pix of sewing, so here's a couple:

(Coming home outfits for baby-I thought they were pretty gender neutral. Gotta love those lil giraffes! : ) )
Me at 37 weeks 3 days. Tummy measures 39" around! This is the Criss Cross top, also from Jalie. It doubles as a nursing top!! Soo clever!!

(a bare belly tummy shot!)

I've sewn much more actually-some newborn diapers, and an Easter dress for Tabitha that turned out pretty cool (I LOVE my serger, sooo much!!) Also some Stellar Transitions training pants for Wyatt, and a couple more Jalie-maternity but not really maternity tops too. Some wipes, and mama pads as well. Wish I could've sewn more though, actually.

Adding to the list of things I have actually accomplished, I have put about a good month and a half's worth of meals in the freezer, using Fix, Freeze, Feast-a really neato cookbook I borrowed from the library.

I also need to post about Jesse's soccer, and his 6th birthday party, but I think I'll save that for another day-YAY for retro blogging! LOL!

At least now I've posted, everyone knows a) I didn't fall off the face of the Earth (just wish I had!) and b) nope, no baby yet. Will try and post shortly after s/he arrives!