Sunday, October 1, 2017

Baby pictures.

That's what happens when you start working on houses right? You start having babies who delight you and get in the way of finishing projects.

We hired Merritt-who-has-moved-to-charlotte to photograph the family.

Marianne Hillary Spring

And her adoring sisters

Related - the adults are now on diets

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Our littlest creature is such a delight. Some pictures of her first three months in our family.
Sometimes we call her the maymaybaybay, little Hillary, mayYann, but we haven't yet settled on the just right family pet name.
She'll help us figure one out soon enough.

Margot loved the cream filled croissant muffin. Apartments being built in Central Park in the background. 

Laying on my big squishy tummy 

Laying on the coffee bar at the coop

My favorite infant picture so far 

Selfie I took while nursing and cooking dinner.

Ok, I love sleeping babies. 


We've been very slowly attempting to convert the South Lawn into more than a grass pit and parking lot.

We started earlier in the year by having TROSA come and remove all of the leaves, ivy, and debris from the yard. We then fixed the fence at the back property line so none of us would fall over the 8ft drop into the church parking lot behind our house. Fun times. One day, the tree that is on their property that leans over their church is going to fall.  We've talked to them so many times, offering to let them use our yard to trim or remove the tree... their response was that they have insurance if anything happens. 

OK then. 

Then, we finally got started building the swingset.

Hard to believe, but when Harris and our friend/neighbor Rob went to disassemble and bring the parts back from Raleigh, the dolphin swing was for Margot. She got her ride in it, was joyful, then moved on to the big girl swings. 

Madeline taking pictures of me and Marianne. 

Madeline climbs on her own, Margot needs a little boost. The fairy skirt trees aren't covered in ants yet this season so are still fun to daydream in. 

Margot got first slide. Madeline first twirl on the disk swing thing.

We bought the swingset on Craigslist for $300, disassembled and transported it, left it sitting in our yard in pieces for a year, then after buying $300 worth of parts (it is a 20 yr old wooden swingset afterall) Harris spent a leisurely two afternoons reassembling everything and building a platform where the sandbox used to be.  New these are several thousand. Our girls are delighted with their $700 20 year old swingset. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marianne Hillary arrived!

Our happy ttle surprise girl arrived mid February. I've spent the past month with her cuddled in my arms, nursing, sleeping, and enjoying her random hour of wakefulness here ave there. This is the last little infant I'll spend so much time with and I'm revelling in the experience. 

Also, I'm ecstatic to not be pregnant anymore. 

Marianne, the icon of Liberty, the dreaming middle sister of Austen, a song and poem.

Hillary, the woman who should have been President.

Spring, because we're alternating last names

In reverse time lapse order, after the last picture, the story of her birth.

Like her sisters, she was born at the women's birth and wellness center in chapel hill. She was born at 41 weeks, 6 days. We resorted to castor oil after every other thing that worked previously did not work and I was approaching the point of transfer to a hospital setting that I very much wanted to avoid. Marty came down for the weekend to stay with the girls and because we were going castor oil and had no idea how long everything would last Madeline did not get to join us for her birth. 

We went to the birth center and were a little lost as to what to do. Do we put our bag in the closet? I guess we unpack a bit? Get settled in? Harris mixed 4 ounces with chocolate ice cream and whole milk and I couldn't taste it. From 10:30 until 12:00 nothing really, playing on Twitter, texting folks, taking walks. My mood dropped to the basement because it seemed like this wasn't going to work either. I started crying a little, mostly scared I'd end up at the hospital after all. I only had about 36 hours left until I had to go to the hospital for her birth and it was weighing on me. 

Then the castor oil kicked in. My stomach was upset for 2 hours, not horrendously, just like...too much heavy food? It was totally weird to see my undigested breakfast again and also reinforced my belief that I eat fast and very slowly digest my food. 

Then contractions started around 1:45 like her sisters at first I was like, hrm, was that? And then within 10 minutes was humming through them. I knew she would be born fast so I tried to stay calm, listen to the midwife, feel what I was feeling and no more. I spent about an hour cuddled with my weight on a birth ball sort of holding Harris by the arms and shoulder. Unfortunately, I moved out of that position too soon. I started having pushing contractions, so moved to a pushing position, unfortunately, my cervix wasn't finished, so labor sort of stalled out for 20 minutes or so while my cervix caught up to my uterus. That was uncomfortable. I wanted to push, asked to push, but midwife made very good point to breathe through them so my cervix could finish because she couldn't get her head out to push yet. Here I was not as good at feeling my feels and no more, my anxiety went up a bit and I started getting frazzled. I don't remember who said what, but I made it through and calmed down. So I breathed through and tried to relax until I felt another change and couldn't not push. More pushing with this girl, she did the come down, go back up movement that was not perceptible with my older girls. Pushing lasted maybe 30 minutes? 

She was born at 4:10, perfectly formed, so clean with perfect skin, I've never seen a white baby so clean and peachy rosey from the beginning. She was massive, 9lbs 14 ounces, but looked bigger because of her massive torso/body. She just looked dense. She was perfect color, started breathing easy, cuddled and nursed

Once she was born the midwife Lydia was able to get the placenta to deliver, but then I started hemorrhaging like with Margot. There was some stringy elements to the placenta and clots and lots of blood. I didn't hemorrhage as badly as when Margot was born but it was still pretty intense. Another very experienced midwife came in and assisted and within about half an hour all of the placenta was delivered and the bleeding was more controlled. The midwives and nurse worked together beautifully, administering herbs, giving me instructions on what to do, all while taking care of this beautiful little newborn. It was truly beautiful. I felt so supported and cared for by everyone in the room. Fear did not enter when Marianne was born. 

 I started shaking uncontrollably because I was so cold or at least felt so cold so they layered me up with blankets. I snuggled up and tried to pull myself together after all of it. I had to tell myself that my body was not cold and thermometer proved it and that I could stop shivering and shaking. It took a few hours for that to fully materialize. 

We ate left over gyro and pita and pot roast. Harris gave me chocolates and goat chese and crackers. We napped. They checked on me repeatedly to make sure the hemorrhage was over so we could go home. 

It takes a little while to leave, over the course of 90 minutes we filled out paperwork, I took a shower, we packed up our bag, they checked Marianne again, we dressed our little girl,  and got everything to the car. It was a very unseasonably warm day in February, but the night was cool again.  Around 11:30 that night we left, I'm not sure why we stayed so long it didn't feel like we were lingering or dragging it out while there, but in reflection we spent more time there that day than with either other daughter. 

We drove home slowly too, stopping to get me some gatorade that I weirdly wanted. Marty was awake when we got home but both girls asleep. We left them asleep until the morning when they got to meet their sister. 

And now my cuddle buddy stirs, so I'm going back to cuddles nursing, and sleeping.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Laundry room

There are often little details in old houses that go unnoticed. These never make it into new houses because it costs money to do these things and 'no one is going to see it anyway'. 
For example, this is the inside header, trim, and casing on the doorway of a small closet off the kitchen. You only see it when standing inside the closet which is almost impossible to do. And yet, when building the house, they wanted it to be beautiful and consistent throughout. One of the reasons I love old houses. 

We used this small closet as a pantry since we moved in. Some crappy plastic shelves and viola! all of our dry good storage could be dumped in here. It was fine. 

However, with the advent of the pantry, we decided to move the washer and dryer here and make the former laundry area the temporary cat home. It's fine. 

So here's the empty space with the gas, water, and vents all hooked up, and then as Harris started stacking and hooking up the machines. Luckily, our friend Michael stopped by and told Harris about a time he had to hold his wife's feet as she dangled behind the washer trying to fix something. This lead Harris to cut out the bottom boards to make an easier access point from the basement. 

Girls Bathroom Final

There's the beautiful princess tub that I looked for on Craigslist for over a year. That Harris almost didn't get because we got into an argument the morning he was to go get, that Madeline rescued from adult drama by quietly saying, 'but my princess tub...' with her head hung low making the adults feel pretty low. 

It's been sitting, waiting upstairs, for two-ish years.  

There was a gross shower here. Now it is gone forever and the tub will go there using existing plumbing. 

Us checking out paint colors. We all mutually decided we liked a peachy pink color for the walls.  

Harris getting rid of paneling after I got rid of the shower stall. Well, I unscrewed and unbolted everything so he could chuck it in the dumpster across the street.

The last of the paneling is now gone from the house. I think. I'm sure I'll find another little bit here or there. 
The tile arrived in August.  Harris built a partition wall separating the entrance to what will one day be our room from the girls bathroom. We found board that were quite similar and tacked those up!
We let Madeline pick the paint color, she went with a pale peachy pink that I think will hold up nicely for a decade or more of heavy use by some splashy little girls.  Harris had to paint because I couldn't - between getting home and being exhausted or getting sick, it just wasn't happening.

We had someone else lay the tile because of all of our amazing skills, tile isn't one of them. 
On the first day of tiling, the tile guys gave to me, waterproofing cement board! 

On the second day of tiling, the tile guys gave to me, mortared in tile without grouting. 
And on the third day - grout! 

We used Fireclay tile for the border with a hex pattern we bought online for the floor. We have some clean up to do on the wood floors that become the hallway. 
The trim is a mimic of the trim throughout the house. 
The vanity is from IKEA, obviously, they make great sinks and vanities. We also got the matching dresser so the girls have a place to store towels, soaps, and things now and later. 

The view from the girls room entry

The girls room entry

The view from the main hallway.  We got a crazy good deal on the light fixture and mirror from an interior designer off craigslist. 

We've hung curtains and a towel bar and little things like that. We're very happy with how it turned out, even it this tiny room took 7 months instead of 7 weeks.