Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Viral Meningitis Scare

Thank you all for your prayers last night for Deirdre. 

At 12:30 yesterday she complained that her neck her hurt out of the blue. After nap, she would not wake up immediately and it took me about five minute to wake her. She said she could not move and was inconsolable about her neck pain as well as very lethargic. We were advised to take the the ER for a possible case of meningitis. After about 6-7 hours in the ER (with lots of blood draws and a spinal tap later) we were given the clear to go home. 

Today at the pediatrician's office, we were told she most likely had a case of viral meningitis (which can quickly occur and go away). Her neck and symptoms should be all better in two weeks or less and she is not contagious. 

Last night was the most difficult challenge Craig and I have had yet with our kids and seeing them in pain, but God is good and we were covered in prayer. Thank you everyone, 

Now to rest...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Young Mothers and Choices

Wow things are beginning to move fast here! I can't believe that Saint Patrick's Day has already past and Easter is around the corner (as well as the new baby's arrival). It also has been hot the past few days, as in not Springtime warmth, but summer heat. I thought I'd never be putting on sunscreen in March, but low and behold... this week I did!

I also do not envy other mothers whom have their third trimesters during the summer. Up to this point I've been spoiled by only being largely pregnant during Winter. This heat is no fun, not to mention I really have no warm weather maternity clothes so I just look silly and overexposed shoving myself into my non-maternity summer clothes. But I am enjoying the final weeks of my pregnancy. Despite the aches and heat, I am happy and happy to wait. I guess since this is my third pregnancy I have more perspective on how fleeting this all is. I love being wobbly and round. 

Me, at 21, holding my little Deirdre a few hours after birth. I just couldn't stop staring at her. Everything she did was a little miracle to me. 

On that note, I have been reflecting recently on my motherhood-wifehood-and my pregnancies. I volunteer with a mothers support group and during one discussion two weeks back another mother (who happens to be older than me) was commenting about her mother. She related that even though her mother chose to be a mother when she was young and educated, that she felt her mother resented her (the daughter) for taking away her mother's childhood. Afterwards she said to me, "I hope you don't end up feeling the same way towards your children." 

I have to say her directness took be by surprise, especially since I was the group leader and had never made any indication that I regretted my life's timing. I guess I must be close to her mother's age when she had children. I am also sure that her intentions were pure (I know this particular mother is having a lot of confidence issues herself). So at the time, I brushed off her comment and thanked her for her concern. But it did stick with me and I have been thinking about it. So do I resent my children for taking away my childhood?

The answer is a loud resounding NO! I had a childhood. I don't consider having children and getting married in my early twenties, 21 to be exact, impeding on my childhood (I will be turning 26 this year). Young adulthood, yes. But really, truly, what else would I be doing or want to be doing? 

Working a career- yes probably-but I make a choice even now to not do that and have no regrets. I did finish college and have two degrees to show for it. I traveled before and while I was pregnant and feel I had plenty of good life experiences before then- and I am still having them now! I also had been independent from my parents and taking care of myself for almost five years when I first got pregnant and married. So I'm not really sure what I am supposed to be regretting by choosing to become a mother. I always wanted to have children and Craig and I knew early on in our relationship that our goal was marriage. 

Our wedding, 12-2-07, two weeks before Deirdre was born.
Furthermore, I don't think you have to have gone to college, lived on your own, or traveled in order to not regret becoming a mother, or legitimize your choice. That is just where I happened to be coming from. 

I guess what wanted to say was that I chose to become a mother and a wife, and I did so happily with my eyes wide open. These choices were not forced upon me. Adoption was always an option and for most of my  first pregnancy, it was THE option we were going to choose, until God made it clear that it wasn't the right choice for Craig and I. 

I am not going to lie and say that all of this has been easy, but it certainly has been rewarding. Marriage and motherhood isn't easy period, and I believe going into it at any age presents its own unique challenges. I also am happier, more content, and at peace with who I am and the life I am living now more than ever before. My faith also has a lot to do with that too. 

I respect everyone else's choices and opinions too on the timing of their families, or even the decision to have a family. I just hope people don't think that younger mothers are mothers because they were forced into it and regret it. I am sure mothers of all ages have regrets, and I do too, but not about becoming a mother. It is the best decision Craig and I ever made, next to getting married. 

So there is my two cents for the week. It's been a long time since I have even thought about that time in my life or even remembered that most of society considers still me a young mother at 26. And so what if I am young? I think it is quite empowering to remember we all made a choice to become a mother at the age we did- young or old. Life is too rich and fleeting to get caught up in regrets. I try to live in the here and now. And I like this place a lot. 


Marveling at and holding my daughter for the first time!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yarn Along: Easter Egg Swap

Today, a day late I know, I am joining up with Ginny again at Small Things so show off my rainbow knitted Easter eggs, as well as the Dionne at Magic Onions and Linda at Natural Suburbia. It took me a little under a week to get these up. It helps that I have knit eggs before and had the yarn on hand. I am just so happy with them and I hope the other swap Mommies will like them too. Our swap is hosted by Julie at This Cosy Life. To go with the rainbow theme, I also am including matching canvas bags to hold each egg and a pot of paint. The paint is from one of my favorite companies, Clementine Art. They're based in the US and all their art supplies are plant based and eco-friendly.

I was going to do story wood eggs but they were not turning out as well as I  hoped, whereas these cuties are perfect! I used this pattern  from Purl Bee. My kids really don't want me to send these off but I promised them that they would be getting goodies in return. 

Speaking of other swaps, I did a St. Patty's Day swap with my friend Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts. We got our package from her yesterday- talk about quick shipping, go Australia! I wanted to share her lovely work with you all. We feel so blessed, thank you Kelly! 

I also just joined up with Carrie at Crafty Moms Share for her knitted farm swap. I am making 12 oat field blocks and i cannot wait. I am so happy I joined in, this will be so much fun and the pattern and timeline is very doable for me. 

So what are you all working on? 

Until next time, 

Made by Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts

Made By Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Crafting

Hello new blog followers! 
I saw over the weekend that I gained a few new friends :) I am happy to have you and hope to get to know each of you better. Making new connections is what I love most about this place! 

Once again it seems that this weekend has flown by. I recently reached out and asked for some more help with my kids as the baby approaches. There are some cleaning and chores that I'd like to get done before the baby arrives that I just can't do well with the kids around, or are too loud to do while they nap. I also need more rest so I am just not getting as much done. My hope it that the things that need a good scrub, can get scrubbed now, so that later on it won't be as much work to clean (just a quick wipe down and sweep). 

So on Saturday my sweet mother-in-law (I call her Mom because she is like a mother to me- but on the blog I'll refer to her as MomK), took the kids for the morning. In the meantime I was able to run errands and clean my entire upstairs, and I mean CLEAN. I also purged of some junk that was still lying around from our move. 

The productivity payback however was great, since my body afterwards started having contractions and I felt like a someone shoved a wedge in between my pubic bone (I suffer from pubic symphysis diastasis). So at any rate, thus begins my prodromal labor. It started at this point with Jonas, so I am not the least bit surprised... just uncomfortable. This time however I know that I need to rest, embrace, and relax- with him I did not know that. 

So since for the rest of the day I was literally couch ridden (rest is the best thing for me when I feel this way) I worked on my second Waldorf doll and wig for my daughter. 

I am happy to say that I am done. All I need to do is sew the wig on, trim it, make some clothes, and embroider the face. This dolly will make her debut in my daughter's Easter basket. It will be so hard to wait since I know she want's one so bad. She has been stealing Jonas' little buddy a lot! 

I also got started on my Easter Egg swap that I am participating in with Julie over at This Cosy Life. I am about 1/3 done already and I am happy with my eggs. Once I finish, I will share them with you! 

So here is to a great weekend, minus the prodromal labor part! What have you been working on? 

Always, Nicole 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Nook for Our Little One

Has it been a week already since my last blog? Shame on me for not being in this place more. Truly, I had lots of blog ideas floating around in my head but alas a little nook was calling to me, and demanded my attention. 

I am happy to say that for all intensive purposes my baby's nursery is complete. I even finished the Beatrix Potter quilt today. It was very surreal to see if all stitched up, given I chose this fabric for my unborn child before I was even pregnant. 

All in all, I am quite happy with this room. When I walk in I feel calm, content, and peaceful- all the things I want for my baby. We were lucky when it came to room color on this one since the room was already this color when we moved in! I have always been a fan of yellow. Even though green in my favorite color, I still prefer yellow or blue on walls. Go figure, eh? 

The theme that I wanted for this room is Peter Rabbit. However it really turned out have more of a meadow/bunny vibe- which I am totally fine with! I think themes can feel a bit contrived at times. I also wanted to incorporate some Waldorf into this room, as I did for Deirdre and Jonas. Simple, natural, beautiful, and pure... yes I think I did squeeze a bit of Waldorf in there :) 

I am happy to say that besides a few exceptions, most of the room is second hand or crafted (I splurged on the valances and canvas art though, shhhh!) I even had one very sweet college friend see my blog and remember I was doing a Peter Rabbit theme. So when she was cleaning out her Grandmother's closet, she set aside a lovely yellow blanket and a HUGE box of fabric for me. I used lots of it too, and will continue to. The fabric is in the hoops on the wall over the crib and I hung the blanket over the bookcase. So thank you sweet Emily :) 

Once the quilt is quilted, (I am sending it off to be top-stitched by my local long-arm quilt lady) I will post a photo and tell you more about it. I have to say it was not my easiest quilt, lots of very close stitching, but it is made with love (and the quilt lady's top-stitching covers lots of little boo-boos that were too small to pull apart and fix, but just big enough to bother you)! 

But that is enough about the room. I think the photos speak for themselves. Lots of love went into this space from Craig, the kids, and I. Oh and if you look closely enough, you'll see bits of art Deirdre and Jonas have made and then crept up into the room and left in there for the baby. Talk about melting my heart! 

So until baby is ready to sleep in this space (since baby sleeps with Mama for quite awhile), this room will happily wait for her. 

Wishing you all a blessed weekend!

Always, Nicole 

I love this knit rug. It reminds me of soft meadow grass.  The sheet is organic  and has a cute Peter Rabbit print on it. 

The rocker will go in that corner once I can bribe someone to move it there for me!  I also still need to put some goodies on the shelves. I have time, right? Any ideas? 

Linking up with Magic Onions and Natural Suburbia today! 

Also thank you for the love Lysa! Lysa featured my blog in her post today. I am honored :) Feel free to stop by Lysa's Reviews and say hi to her! She write some great reviews! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March and Fleeting Time

March has entered our home with a bang and a blast of balmy spring weather. I found myself today actually wearing capri pants and sandals! I'd be lying however if I said that I was ready for March as well as Spring. 

Last night I found myself taking down the last remnants of our winter school room decor and adding what spring items I had to our nature table. I usually try to be prepared when it comes to school (by crafting ahead of time) but March really creeped up on me. Thankfully our lessons are pre-planned out for this whole month and most of next until baby comes. 

Now that we're in March, my mind has flown into panic mode a bit. Baby Kleemann #3 is due in April and this month signals my last full month before their arrival. Granted there is a possibility that this little one will take their time and come in May, which is totally fine by me, but I'd rather be ready considering my other two children came 2 and 3 weeks early (at a healthy 8 pounds give or take each). 

Really though I am 'ready' to meet this one when they decide to arrive. But the nesting part of my brain wants to have the baby's clothes sorted before then. I am guessing (note my sarcasm here) that with three children once the baby comes, I won't have loads of time to be sorting baby clothes then. :) 

So here I am blogging, excited about the baby and March, yet also wanting a bit more time to get things in order before then. Come six weeks from now, when I am really uncomfortably pregnant, remind me I wished for extra time!

Until then, 

PS: Enjoy the two little creations I managed to sneak in below. A rainbow spring bunting and felt bunny- both courtesy of pinterest! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Lenten Journey: The Joys of Keeping a Lenten Garden

We follow Lent to follow Him
A time of sacrifice and prayer
We give up something we desire
That His example we might share.
-Excerpt from a Lenten poem by Elena dal Friuli

My family has been on our Waldorf journey now for three years this coming Spring. Since then, we've added a new member to the family and started homeschooling our eldest. At times it saddens me that I did not have a guiding philosophy in mind for my eldest’s early years, but thankfully now we do (and she doesn't seem to know the difference). This means that our family traditions are not really traditions yet at this point. They’re new and evolving as we incorporate various festivals into our yearly rhythm. One new tradition, going on its second year in our home, is having a Spring Lenten garden.

Last March after I went outside to cut some of my wild daffodils to bring inside, I sat down and read a bit of All Year Round by Lifeways. This book has become an indispensable resource as a Waldorf Homeschooling teacher and I highly recommend it. At any rate, its section on Spring had a bit on Lenten Gardens. I had never heard of this before and I was intrigued! What a special way to teach children about Lent- a topic that most young ones can rarely grasp.

My husband and I are both Christians and both celebrated Lent growing up. Usually, at least for me, we gave up a luxury for the 40 days of Lent. While this practice should have held some significance for me- it did not. It wasn't until this past year while doing the Lenten Garden with my daughter and son, did I really reflect on what the Lent’s true significance was for me personally as a Christian.

The beauty of the Lenten garden is that it can be used in anyone’s home, regardless of what they believe. Just to reflect on the coming of Spring and the many blessings we have daily that seem to slip by without us knowing would be a welcome tradition in many homes. The possibilities are endless. I treasured being able to stop and pause with my children and it’s a practice that I feel I could never do too much.

So below are the practical ways in which we used our garden and how we made it. It can be tinkered with endlessly to suit your family’s beliefs and climate. I wholeheartedly encourage you to take the time to pause and reflect the unfolding of Spring with your families. In the hard dark days that come from time to time while raising young ones, those still moments serve as a beacons of light for me to guide me out from within.

A tray or platter
Sandy Dirt
Spray bottle
Two large rocks and a handful of medium ones
A small bowl or container lid filled with water (to be a little pond)
Plastic wrap
Dish towel
Purple playsilk or cloth
Fresh flowers in a vase
A sheep figure
Various spring animal figures to decorate your garden scene

All the supplies I used for our garden last year I found around my house. I found an old wicker serving tray that I seemed to never use and I went to work. After laying down a terry cloth towel and plastic wrap to protect the bottom of the tray, I layered on the dirt, moss, rocks, water tray, and stones. Once they were all set in place, I added some Spring figures that we had on hand from our Woodland Fantasies farm set and a wooden mushroom I painted. Then I hung a purple mini playsilk behind the tray and added the freshly cut flowers from my yard.

Each day the children and I gathered near the garden after breakfast and moved the lamb to slowly towards the two stones on the far side representing the tomb. On Shrove Tuesday, the the first day that we did the garden, each of the children chose a toy to give up for Lent and set it near the garden. We recited our Lent verse daily when we moved the lamb and read the story of Easter by Patricia Pingry. On Good Friday we hung cross and black silk in the garden and then on Easter morning I rolled away the two little stones and had an angel there.  This tradition sealed its permanence in our family that morning after my daughter emphatically shouted, “He really is risen”! The look on their faces when they saw the angel was priceless.

All in all, The garden was a great tool in talking about all the themes of Easter, Lent, and Spring. It continues to amaze me that in the process of teaching my children, I have learned- and even re-learned- so much about life and my faith. I hope in the years to come that this ‘new’ tradition for us becomes a fond childhood memory for my children and yours.