Saturday, October 15, 2016

On Her Second Birthday

We celebrated Margaret's second birthday today and since I have an eleven day old baby it was a very fancy celebration indeed, complete with a store bought cake, delivery pizza and cousins.  Lots and lots of cousins.

We gave Margaret her dollhouse which was a big hit and she also got a high chair, stroller and Ergo for her baby dolls and a hair dryer/pretend make-up set to boot.  I'm afraid I didn't get any good pictures of her playing with her new toys so you'll just have to take my word for how adorable she looked wearing her baby doll while simultaneously blow drying her hair and pushing her stroller.  She will certainly make an excellent mother one day with those multitasking skills.

Before her party she maintained that it was not her birthday and she did not want cake or ice cream or presents--mostly because she's in a very ornery stage and automatically says no to pretty much anything you ask her.  But by the end of the day she was happily singing "happy birthday to me" with a tummy full of treats and arms full of gifts so I suppose she must have reconsidered her anti-birthday stance somewhere along the way.

If you ask her how old she is now, she will reply "two!" while holding up somewhere between three and five fingers only to quickly change her answer to "five!" while holding up all ten.  We'll obviously have to work on her finger counting accuracy but she's certainly got the enthusiasm down for being another year older.


Happy birthday sweet girl.  You bring us so much joy and laughter and maybe, just maybe, this year you can master bringing a little less screaming and ninja kicks :)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Quick Birth Story on the Feast of St. Francis

I'm pretty sure this is the first baby I delivered before their due date, and also the first to not be born in the middle of the night.  Full of surprises this one.

I probably should have known that I'd deliver him on Tuesday being that I was both still completely mentally unprepared for having another child and that I spent Monday in a frenzied compulsion to accomplish and clean ALL THE THINGS--as best as a someone who can't actually bend down can accomplish and clean things anyway.  By evening I was coming to terms with the fact that the baby was on his way and I was up all night waiting for it to be time to head in to the hospital.  After all, my babies are always born in the middle of the night so clearly Christopher would be too.  Well by six in the morning I had had about thirty minutes of sleep but it was time to head in, if only just to make sure that we didn't get stuck in traffic trying to wait any longer.

An accidental home birth is one thing, an accidental side-of-the-road-birth is something else entirely.

We made it to the hospital and had a fairly quick and uneventful time of things, aside from the obligatory me telling the doctors that I was ready to push followed by them not listening, causing a bit of chaos as someone was forced to dive, gloveless and not suited up, to catch the baby.  This time when I tried to give ample warning that the baby was coming the doctor responded that actually she thought my labor had slowed and offered me some Pitocin to get things going again--literally five minutes before they all had to come running back in for the delivery.  They also had the gall to tell me not to push.  Now, I've delivered with epidurals and without and you can certainly tell someone with an epidural not to push and they can probably comply, but if someone does not have an epidural they certainly will not.  Christopher was making his entrance and I was laughing maniacally at the thought of trying to stop him. Probably not out loud, but on the inside--on the inside there was total maniacal laughter.  The doctors said that it was one of the fastest deliveries they'd ever seen.

That's probably true, it was pretty darn fast.

Chris scooted home after everything settled down to take care of the children and I was released twenty-four hours later.  I debated staying the extra allotted day but the beds in this hospital are apparently all designed to prevent bedsores by randomly and continuously inflating and deflating so that you feel like you're rolling around on a water bed.  And you can't turn it off.

I thought, all things considered, I'd rather be home resting on a non-vibrating mattress with my newborn than in the hospital, even with their excellent room service menu and the promise of relative quiet.  

Here everyone's doing well and the kids just love their new little brother.  The little ones love him a little too hard sometimes, but I suppose that's to be expected.  Chris will be home to take care of us for most of the month and I'm trying to fight the urge to clean things and just sit around and snuggle this precious little baby instead while I can.

Everything happened so quickly that I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around the fact that he's actually here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On Finishing A Quilt And Not Being Ready For Baby

I think this might be my favorite baby quilt that I've ever made, and that is saying something because I really liked Margaret's flower garden quilt and I'm itching to start a twin sized one for her big girl bed.  I ended up hand piecing a bunch of nine-patch squares at random using scraps from John's baby quilt (as per his request so that they could match) with some bits of the boys' old shirts and daddy's old boxer shorts thrown in for good measure.  The boys like to pretend that this wanton use of undergarments horrifies them but I'm pretty sure they really think it's hilarious.   I say waste not, want not.  Am I right?  Then I laid them out on the floor to make sure the same fabrics weren't touching each other anywhere which I was not entirely successful at.  Unfortunately I'm a lazy quilter and was not about to pull it apart to fix it so the mistakes will just have to give the thing a bit more character.  I really like the way the perle cotton hand quilting turned out--especially on the back.  It totally makes up for the randomness of the front, don't you think?

Now, finishing up the baby's quilt probably should have been a clue that I might actually be having a baby soon.

It wasn't

Chris mentioned last week that it was just four weeks to go before the baby arrives to which I replied, "no, you're crazy" before checking the calendar and realizing that no, I'm the crazy one.  Now it's more like not quite three weeks until d-day and I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that I'm about to have another baby.

I did spend last weekend pretending this was actually happening and forcing myself to prepare basic baby necessities anyway.  I got all the 0-3 month baby boy clothes out and gave them a soak in ye old oxyclean to remove those pesky milk stains that like to manifest themselves sometime between when you laundered the clothes for the last time and whenever you opened back up the storage bin.  In this case that would be almost four years.  I also mended my favorite fancy muslin blankets which had become so worn with use that they had some pretty intense holes.  It was a rough job but what they lack in beauty they make up for in functionality.  Muslin is hard to mend.

My sister-in-laws also gifted us with two perfectly timed donations of cloth diapers, liners and other accouterments--one tiny baby sized and one giant baby sized which were exactly what I needed to resupply my sad, worn out diaper stash but didn't particularly want to spend the money on.  Which just goes to show that if you wait long enough to buy things that you need, something will eventually turn up.

So baby Christopher officially has milk-stain free clothes, some functional if obviously mended swaddling blankets, and plenty of diapers.  I suppose once I have Chris pull the infant car seat and my overnight bag down from the attic I'll be pretty much set to get to the hospital and care for basic baby needs.

Being mentally prepared to deliver and actually have another baby at home, that's another story.  At least he has a pretty adorable quilt.

Friday, September 16, 2016

On the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and the parish where our little Frances was buried offered their annual Our Lady of Sorrows Mass for families who have lost children.   We made the hour long trek out to Holy Trinity even though I was pretty sure mass without Chris would be a disaster since Margaret hasn't made it through mass without needing to be escorted outside for months.  It was well worth it though, even if I did end up in the cry room with my screaming toddler and then the apple picking I dangled as a reward for attending mass after an hour long car ride plus another thirty minutes to the orchard lasted all of fifteen minutes before the bags were full and the children done. Kara, the woman behind a m.o.m.s peace, who literally buried many of those lost babies herself, was at the memorial mass and, as usual, was working tirelessly to bring comfort and peace to all the grieving families there.

When we lost Frances we didn't realize what an ordeal it would be to have her buried with some modicum of dignity.  When we lost our first daughter in Pennsylvania, our parish referred us to the funeral home owned by another parishioner and he just handled everything at no cost to us.  He said he always took care of babies for free.  He was even willing to fly her back to North Carolina where we wanted her to be buried at no cost to us.  We ended up having Chris' parents drive her down, but it was such a blessing to not have to worry about the logistics of anything on top of our grief.  I just assumed that that was how it was everywhere.   I was wrong.

Here in Virginia we were looking at either the cost of a full funeral which would have been several thousand dollars or letting the hospital "dispose" of our daughter's remains themselves.  Neither was an acceptable option.  We just needed a place to bury our baby and someone to help us figure out what to do to make that happen.  That's where Kara came to the rescue.  Kara knew the law, gave us moral support, offered prayers, and arranged the burial with Father Woude from Holy Trinity presiding and even provided baby blankets and a much more appropriate tiny casket than the tupperware container holding our daughter's remains that we left the hospital with.

Well, I didn't set out to write a pitch for this wonderful ministry, but losing a baby is difficult enough without dealing with all of the aftermath alone and seeing Kara again at this mass reminded me of how much she did for our family and so many others.   If you live in the Northern or Central Virginia area remember that  a m.o.m.s peace is here if you or someone you know needs them.  Or better yet, contact Kara and see how you can help.  Goodness knows she could use it.  

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Lego Party


David turns eight this week so naturally he wanted to celebrate with a Lego party.  We threw the standard Reintjes Family party involving a theme in which we could use mostly our old decorations, a homemade pinata, beer for the grown-ups, and pretty much no scheduled activities.

We brought down most of the boys Legos for everyone to play with and they were almost completely ignored.  Mostly the kids all ran rampant through the yard and house playing with various weaponry, Pokemon cards and eventually the opened birthday presents.  I think everyone had fun.

This year was fun because David was able to do a lot of help with the planning and execution of the party.  He put together the invitations, made Lego crayons for party favors with me and even took charge of the table decorations--which consisted of his Lego train and track and a big number eight.  He had very specific requirements for his cake, i.e. the same strawberry cake he always wants, which was tricky to bring into the Lego theme of it all, but we settled on a bunch of minifigures holding birthday candles.  It was pretty professional.

The whole party was pretty professional.  Or the opposite of professional, it's hard to say.

Either way, David had a really good day and that's the important thing, right?
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