March 27, 2012

Oh, So Fond

In the last few weeks I have found myself increasingly fond of a few things, both new and old. Like showers. I have never liked a shower as much as I do right now, probably because prior to February 18, I could shower anytime I pleased. I'm also loving the Koala Sheet Saver. Yes, I'm doing laundry everyday. And yes, it only saves me from having to wash the crib sheet. But the fact that I don't have to fuss with dressing and undressing the crib mattress daily has made me a fan. More than anything else though, I am so, so fond of my new Kindle. Allow me to explain:

After a month of breastfeeding I found myself desperate for an activity that could be done while nursing that wasn't watching excessive amounts of television. Don't misunderstand, I like TV. It's just that between bed rest and nursing I'm confident I've seen nearly everything I care to. While I am grateful that I can nurse Cole and perhaps have that moment where I feel connected to women throughout history (I'm still waiting), hours upon hours spent providing milk left me feeling more bovine than feminine.

After considerable research,  I finally bit the bullet and bought the e-reader clearly I am not an early adopter. I'm smitten with my new Kindle! It is easy to use one-handed which is perfect. With any luck, reading while nursing will help me stop feeling like a cow. And grant me a very full 2012 Reading List.

Picture from Amazon.com

March 23, 2012

The Name Game

It was just a short while after we found out I was expecting that we picked out baby names. We wanted to use a family name and we wanted the name our child would go by to be his/her first name. In honor of my paternal grandfather we picked Walter as our boy name. For our girl name, we decided to use my maternal grandfather's middle name, Colegate. Knowing full well that if we had a girl and named her Colegate we'd call her Cole, we opted to shorten the name so she wouldn't have to spend the first day of school every year correcting her teachers.

With first names pick out,  it was time to come up with middle names. For our boy name, we considered the names of the Slaton men ultimately deciding on Peter's father's name, Phillip. It was relatively quickly decided that our boy name would be Walter PhillipSidenote: I can't say whether or not we'll use Walter Phillip down the road. We won't keep the unused boy name in reserve since Walter and Phillip are both family names. The names should be available for any child-bearing family member to use.

Our girl middle name took a bit more time. We considered names from both sides of our family but failed to find a name that flowed well with Cole. It didn't take long to realize we wanted an ├╝ber-feminine middle name to balance Cole. Peter and I started to generate lists of names we found to be "very girly." While we considered a few names pretty seriously, we ultimately decided to use the name Annabel. Unlike our other names, Annabel can be spelled several different ways. Conveniently, one of my dearest friend's middle name is Annabel, spelled A-n-n-a-b-e-l-l-e, so we chose to use her spelling of Annabelle for the girl middle name. Thus, the name Cole Annabelle was born.

Since Cole's arrival there has been a tiny bit of confusion as to what we are calling her. I should say for the record, we are calling her Cole. She doesn't have a double name and we're not calling her Annabelle, just Cole. She's already received an inspired nickname from one of her grandfathers, Colibelle, but to us she's Cole... or Miss Cole... or Baby Girl... or Birdie... or Little Miss... Well admittedly she has a few nicknames. We'll have to see if any stick.

March 18, 2012

Cole :: 1 month

It's hard to believe our baby girl is a month old already. What a busy month it has been! Cole has had so many firsts including her first bath, first play-date, and first nickname.  She has gone all over town shopping for clothes and keeping us company at restaurants. Just this morning she went to church for the first time! She managed to stay quiet until after the sermon when we decided to duck out. Hopefully we'll be able to stay for the whole service soon.

The overwhelming theme of Cole's first month has been love, evidenced by cards, calls, emails, gifts, and visitors. In the last four weeks Cole met her Grandma Kathy, Pop Pop Tim, Scottie, BD, Uncle TJ, Aunt Kelsey, and Uncle Ryan. She also met lots of her Memphis family! 

Cole takes her responsibilities very seriously; she is devoted to eating and sleeping well. She loves to check out the world around her with particular interest in her mobiles and art cards. Little miss does not like to be hungry or naked and has no problem letting us know. Cole is learning to love the dogs who, fortunately, have loved her from the start.

Its been exciting to watch Cole wake-up in the last few weeks. I'm sure as the weeks go by, we'll find Cole to be even more alert. In the last month Peter and I have become much more comfortable with Cole as she becomes more comfortable to life on the outside.

March 15, 2012

Cole's Birth Story

If you're not interested in birth stories or any sort of medical talk, skip this post. 
Seriously. 


Cole's due date was February 27 but a number of weeks before then I started having Braxton Hicks contractions. On February 8 at my 37 week check-up, my OB said that I was progressing toward labor and would likely deliver before the due date. Looking at me it was easy to tell the baby was low and a number of folks let me know so. By my 38 week check-up on February 15, I was 4 cm dilated and having regular contractions so my OB went ahead and stripped my membranes. Around 11 o'clock on the night of February 16, I noticed my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I woke Peter up around midnight (now February 17) and we monitored my contractions for over an hour. They were coming about five minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds. We decided it was time to go.

We headed to the hospital and checked in around 3 in the morning. As we were walking to the hospital room, the nurse told me that I didn't "seem like I was in a lot of pain" so it was probably false labor. She wasn't able to check my cervix when I arrived but told me that "everyone's hands are different" so I probably wasn't really 4 centimeters. She went on to monitor me for an hour during which time the contractions were regular but not frequent enough for her liking. She ended up checking my cervix right before letting me go and to her surprise discovered I was 4 centimeters. She told me that I wasn't really in labor and to come back when my contractions were closer together or if my water broke. So, at 6 am on February 17 we left the hospital. When we got home I went to bed and Peter went to work.

Needless to say, I was upset and frustrated. I've always thought I had a decent pain tolerance so the idea that I wasn't handling the "false labor" well made me feel like a big sissy. When I woke up I proceeded with the day I had planned, all the while continuing to have contractions. I met up with some girlfriends for a play-date then walked the mall hoping to bring on labor. When Peter got home from work I shared with him our exciting Friday night plans: go to Costco, Muddy's, and walk the other mall.

After getting everything we needed from Costco, we decided to grab dinner at their cafe. I should mention while we walked around Costco my contractions were getting stronger but not closer together. I kept sitting down and feeling like a major wimp since the nurse had told me only to come back if my contractions were closer together- she didn't mention anything about stronger. Out of frustration and complete disregard for my gestational diabetes, I ordered pizza and a soda. After dinner, while Peter loaded our purchases into the trunk, I got a contraction that was a bit different from the others. It left my hand shaking. As we pulled out of the parking space I felt something of a trickle and asked Peter to pull into a parking space. I figured if I stood up I'd be able to tell if my water had broken or not. As I  got out of the car, there was a gush. My water broke in a big way! Fortunately, I had put a towel on the seat the day my doctor told me I likely wouldn't make my due date. As we drove down Germantown Parkway back to the hospital, we called our families, the photographer, then some dear friends who were kind enough to care for our dogs and bring us some items we'd failed to put in the hospital bag.

By 9 o'clock we were checking back into the hospital. To be clear, I was discharged just fifteen hours earlier. When my new nurse checked me, she told me I was dilated 7 centimeters and I replied, "Great! Epidural, please." In a very kind, supportive way the nurse and tech both suggested I deliver naturally since I was "handling it so well." While Peter and I didn't have a birth plan, deciding to opt out of the epidural at 7 centimeters is for braver women then me! Had I only been 4 centimeters, I may have opted out knowing full well there was time to ask for one later on. However being that I walked in at 7 centimeters I knew to ask with urgency.

Once I got the epidural (and subsequently an addition dose of some medication because I felt the nurse insert the catheter) life was good. Our sweet friends and photographer hung out and chatted with us between phone calls and text messages with family for just about two and half hours. Around midnight, the nurse said it was time to push. As our friends headed to the waiting room, the nurse got the OB.  Forty minutes later Cole emerged as a silent crier.

All things considered, my false alarm, which may or may not have actually been a false alarm, turned out to be a blessing. Rather than labor in the hospital all day, I unknowingly labored at home (and out-and-about). I also didn't miss a meal which I count as a major bonus!

With Cole's birth behind us, we spent thirty six hours in the hospital then headed home with our baby girl.

March 13, 2012

Bargain Chair Makeovers

While adjusting to life with a newborn and hosting out of town family, the last three weeks have been a blur. Actually, thus far 2012 has been a blur. As a result there are a few changes around the house that I haven't written about. They include the near-completion of Cole's nursery, further attempts at growing-up our master bedroom, and the make-over of three chairs. For now, lets focus on the chairs.

As Peter and I have set up our home we've been fortunate to receive hand-me-down furniture from our parents. Unfortunately, when our dogs were still puppies each one decided to attack a chair necessitating reupholstery. Up until recently, I was under the impression that reupholstery was way out of our home budget. We put the chairs in the attic and simply dealt with the lack of seating with apologizes and smiles. In December I learned of a local reupholsterer whose prices were more than reasonable. In the mean time, I found two fabric store with bargain pricing. Early this year I bought some fabric and finally called the reupholsterer. In January, she pick up three chairs (the two that the dogs attacked and one with a palm tree print that simply didn't fit our decor). Recently, we got the chairs back and they are beautiful!

The chair Gunther attacked goes in our bedroom. I still need to add trim to the bottom of the seat but it's nearly finished. I love the new fabric and the way it brings in the coral from our bathroom.
Before
After
The chair Lily attacked goes in the living room. This poor chair suffered irreparable damage to the cushion and the arms had to be reconstructed. After being reupholstered, the chair looks as good as new and is perfectly neutral in our living room without being boring.
Before
After
Lastly, I had the two box cushions from my "Grandparent Rocker" recovered. The palm trees on the cushions were cute at the beach but they look a bit out of place in our guest room. I found a honeycomb-textured orange fabric remnant at Premier for the cushions and then bought a yard of tan striped fabric for the piping.
Before
After
I'd say the reupholstery was well worth the $180 we spent. It took ages and a bit of comparison shopping but our diligence paid off. We ended up extending the life of our hand-me-downs significantly for way less then the cost of new seating.