Monday, May 30, 2011

It's a girl!

She's here! Our new baby was born Friday, May 27th, just a few hours after my last post! I guess those contractions were serious after all!

Her name is Verity and she was born at "Ireland Manor", delivered by Mr. Ireland himself. She weighed in at 8 # 6 oz and is 20 inches long. She is lovely and tiny, with long delicate fingers and feet. She also has a full head of lovely red hair, which I suspect will end up being a beautiful shade of strawberry blonde.

We are resting and nesting around here, so I may not post for a while (nor will there be any projects or improvements to speak of.) I just wanted to share the news with you. Ta ta!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So done.

I knew this point would come. The point when I had to throw up my hands and say "I'm done!"

Last weekend, my feet began to swell while sitting at the sewing table. So, though I am not done making the last of the diapers, I have to call it quits. Its uncomfortable and alarming to see your feet swollen! The same goes for the rose bushes - they can wait another month or year.
At this point in pregnancy, I should be focusing on having a baby, not finishing up projects! The only thing that got finished are the projects I asked for help with... :)

I did manage to get the potatoes all in the ground this week. I have quite a bit of garden left to layer, and as long as I don't go into labor, I plan to get some of it done each day. I am actually hoping it will START my labor! The goal was to get the potatoes planted, but I have pumpkin, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli starts waiting to go in, not to mention the veggies seeds waiting to be directly sewn. Tomorrow's project is corn! This is a new one for me and I anticipate a grand failure, but hope for some small success.

Our chickens are still doing really well. We have done absolutely nothing to prepare their coop! I am glad they have a few more weeks to stay in, because we need the time!

Maybe my next post will be a birth announcement. If I go another week, maybe it will be a post about how my garden is finished and everything is planted! Maybe.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May day? Mayday!

Today I have a couple of hours to myself. Nearly. The three oldest boys have gone fishing with Dad this morning, so I am home with just one child! What does a mother of 4 (soon to be 5) do with a few hours to herself? Chores? No. I'm watching television. Lame. I should be working on that stack of sewing, or a million other projects that need to be done before I go into labor, but I haven't figured out how to keep the little one busy while I do that. Instead I'm watching reruns of Monarch of the Glen!

Liam pulled everything out of one of the homeschool cabinets and emptied the contents of each box.
Wasn't that thoughtful of him?

This week was fairly productive. I managed to find a sunny afternoon to paint the nursery dresser out on the porch. Sometime during the second coat, our 5 year old locked the front door! So, the oldest boys and I are locked out, me in paint clothes (might as well be pajamas!) and Liam is locked inside, having just awoke from his nap and was, thankfully, in his crib in the nursery. I didn't even have shoes on or my cell phone handy! Everyone kicks their rubber boots off on the porch at our house, so I was able to put on Mr. Ireland's boots and clomp next door to use the neighbor's phone. Mr. Ireland came home, the baby was very upset at being left so long in his bed, but eventually forgave me (with the help of some chocolate chips) and while stuck out of the house, I put several coats of paint on that dresser! I think the paint should be cured by now and I am more than ready to have it's contents gathered from the corners of my house and replaced in the drawers.

Newly painted dresser, without the hardware, but back in place.

We also completed our homeschool 4th quarter requirements this week. Work samples and progress reports for the two oldest boys are mostly done. Our sample for Music is still out. Edward, our oldest, has a new conga drum he has been practicing on and I have convinced him to play a duet with me! Eddie is a great drummer. Unfortunately, I seem to have a hard time playing the piano with a percussionist accompanying me, but with any luck, we will get it together and be able to record a decent run through. I have to admit, I'm a bit of an "unschooler" and most of our work samples were pictures of projects the boys have helped with around the house, like the garden, the chickens and the vegetable starts. What better way is there to learn than to try your hand at something new?

Incan "artifacts", made by Callen and Edward for our history studies of early explorers.

I took a whack at trimming the rose bushes back this week. I felt like I had cut quite a lot of the canes, but I think it may need to be pruned back even further. The rose bushes are starting to bud and now is the time to cut it back, while I can see what has been damaged or broken and what is still living. Maybe I will even relocate one of the plants while I am at it... We did not get very far with our dirt moving on Mother's Day and now we are waiting for a sunny, windless day to finish it. Will it get done before the baby arrives? I have no idea.

Jumbled mess of rose bushes.

Our chickens from last week have new companions! Five new pullets and two little roosters. Our roosters are named "Jack" and "Buck", but none of the new girls have names yet. They are so fluffy and cute! I will get some good pictures of our flock and post them next week.

My mountain of sewing is calling to me from the sewing room. Everything is cut and ready to go, Liam is down for a nap and so I should begin my two day sewing marathon!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day! Our new babies!

Nope, our new human baby has not arrived yet. We have just about 2 weeks until the due date for him or her.

We DO have new animal babies, though! We picked up the first half of our chicks yesterday! We have 5 Rhode Island Reds and they are absolutely adorable. We have a pen and light set up in the laundry room for the chicks. The kids have been running down to the basement to check on them at every opportunity. They were making so many trips down there that I had to implement a "no one goes to the basement without bringing something down/up" rule. Now they take the recycling down or bring laundry up just so they can go visit the chicks!

Chicks on the far left, fresh out of the box; Boys checking out our new babies!

The boys have named most of our chicks: Violet is the loudest and appears to be the leader of the tiny flock, Shiloh is the shyest and likes to spend most of her time curled up in the box (our tiny hen house), Percy is the yellowest chick, Toby (hm, did a Thomas the Tank Engine fan name two of our chicks?) has a little orange on her back, and honestly, I don't think the fifth chick has a name yet. Hup, hold up.... The fifth chick is now named April. Next Saturday we will go pick up the rest of our chicks.

Sewing has been my other focus this past week. I sewed a pair of red curtains for the master bedroom. Really, I folded a twin sheet (bought on sale, with coupons, for about $2 each! ) at the top, creating a built in valance, and stitched a rod pocket. One sheet per window, so I will put a tie back on each window and call it good. My plans for nursery curtains have changed. I remembered that I have a set of white damask, tab top curtains in the basement and I think I will hang those in the nursery instead. Maybe I will use the giraffe print for valances and a crib skirt instead.

I have also been preparing a stack of cloth diaper covers, for both the new baby and Liam, who has outgrown the other covers. They are all cut and ready to sew this next week. I'm hoping that Mr. Ireland will be more willing to use the cloth diapers if they are prestuffed and he doesn't have to fasten a cloth diaper. He can change it just like a disposable and drop it into the bucket, no fuss. I will be making a few more wool diaper covers also.

I gave up on making some long nightgowns for myself (again) and will try to tackle that one again at the end of the summer. I gave in and purchased one. It doesn't matter what I have going on in my life, sewing always gets put off till the last. I am soooo lucky to have an aunt that lives close by and is helping me do some of this sewing! Thanks, Auntie Barb!

Later today, while our youngest takes a nap, Mr. Ireland, the big boys and I will go work in the yard and get our garden ready. We staked out the beds a couple weeks ago and today we will lay down newspaper and top it with soil (a semi-lasagna garden). I think we will plant our potatoes while we are at it too, since the frost seems to be nearly finished (and I will be far to pregnant to try to do it in the coming weeks). I am really looking forward to having my own vegetable garden! My irises and rhubarb are just starting to send up shoots, the peonies too, and I even have some raspberries trying to send out leaves. It's going to be a fun summer!

I am really trying to relax as I make final preparations for our impending arrival. Two weeks will go by very quickly, especially when I am busy submitting final work samples for homeschool, putting a few more meals in the freezer and sewing. Yeah, we have gardening, chores and chickens all mixed in there, but for me, this is as close to "nothing going on" as I get!

One last thing... A couple pictures of our youngest son, doing one of his favorite things... vacuuming! Lets hope he continues to love it as he gets older. I may have someone to take that chore over!

Liam vacuuming, 18 months; 9 months

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

April Projects

I really should be posting on a more often. We may not be working on huge projects, but there are so many small ones that I have a hard time remembering everything that was finished in the last month! Can I blame it on "pregnancy brain"? Maybe a little... Posting once a week would help me stay on track and also let me share more of what happens with the inhabitants of Ireland Manor, not just our projects. I also might have a chance at keeping Liam out of everything if I wasn't taking so much time posting pictures!

Boys and I, heading out for Passover Seder.

As you know, I retextured the nursery a few weeks ago. The wall color is lovely, but that's really all I have done in there. Mr. Ireland installed the shelves in the closet and put the doors on. The changing table is still sitting on the porch, sanded and waiting for new paint and hardware. As for curtains and a chair cover.... They are on the list, but they may not get done before the baby arrives. Liam loves the room, though. His favorite thing to do is open the curtains first thing in the morning and look for the snowshoe hare's that like to nibble grass and twigs in the yard. Pretty exciting for a toddler.

Clockwise: Nursery before, mid retexture, nursery after, Liam feeding his baby.

Dresser, still sitting on the porch.

I FINALLY finished the homeschool area! All the boxes are gone (well, almost all of them) and we have a table to work at! I was so excited to have a nice, big, empty table that I promptly started another project and now the table is full of seedling trays. We can call that a homeschool project, right?

I did manage to make curtains for the boy's bedroom in April. With the sun now setting sometime after 10 p.m., they were staying up later and later into the night because their room faces west. The curtains are black cotton, unlined. They don't block out all light, but they help. We will have to get black-out roller shades to achieve real darkness. At least they can go to bed without a night light, right now.

What else did we do in April.....?

Oh, Mr. Ireland traded the living room fan with the light fixture over the stair well, and installed a HUGE fan in the living room. Our third floor really heats up in the summer, but with 2 fans circulating air, I should be able to survive the heat. The living room fan was a gift from my friend Joy and matches (our future plans for decorating) perfectly! Its just lovely.

Mr. Ireland and I found a day to clean our bedroom during my spring cleaning week. We dusted and moved boxes to the basement and made room for a baby bassinet in our room. It is always nice to have a chair to sit in while feeding a baby at midnight, so we moved my rocking chair from the living room into our room. We have found that the master bedroom is always the last room to get unpacked and organized, so we are very proud to have a bedroom that we can leave the door open to when we have company over. Curtains for our room should be finished soon.

Accordion coat racks are a standard fixture in our house. These are vintage and I love them! Can you guess which one is mine?

I put more things away in the basement, trying to reclaim some of our floor space. I can send a child down to fetch something with a 75% chance of having them find it, so things must be mostly organized. Last of all, the boys and I staked out the garden beds that will be within the rock wall. We have plans to lay our newspaper down and move dirt on Mother's Day. The wall is on my list for the summer, probably somewhere at the end of the season. Having a new born could bump it to next summer, which is fine by me. Some other kind of fencing will have to go up for the summer, though, just to keep the moose out.

View of the garden outline from the front steps, left to right; Attempting to organize the basement.

May is here and with just 3 weeks until the baby should be appearing, I have finally turned my attention to sewing. Check back soon to hear about our new arrivals and gardening adventures!